As we are all well aware Steve was an outstanding and passionate member of our organisation and I know I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say he will be dearly missed and we will be acknowledging his service in the near future.
We are now entering our second week of operation following the implementation of reform and we are continuing to work collaboratively with Fire Rescue Victoria throughout the transition.
Acting CEO Cath Greaves and I, the CFA Executive and Deputy Chief Officers, are monitoring the transition process on a daily basis to identify and resolve issues as quickly as possible.
We are focused on supporting our transferring (and seconded) staff and clarifying tactical and operational questions when they arise.
As Acting Chief Officer my priority is ensuring that we are looking after all of our people and that we remain ready to deliver effective frontline services to the community.
There’s been an enormous amount of change in recent weeks; not just in the reform space but also as a result of the COVID restrictions.
Against the backdrop of these challenges, I’m immensely proud of how our people have been able to adapt to the “new normal” of connecting remotely, working remotely and continuing their important work in supporting us protect lives and property right across our state.
We need to keep the operational focus front of mind, as we are possibly only a few short months from entering the next fire season, in the northern parts of the state and in far East Gippsland based on the first seasonal bushfire outlook for the year.
How we adapt our critical tasks such as managing training, establishing incident control centres, coordinating strike teams and generally undertaking our pre-season activities will require us to continue to be flexible and agile, as we adhere to the COVID restrictions.
We must also anticipate that we will be moving into our fire season operations with a COVID overlay and our planning will need to reflect this.
I will be consulting broadly with our member across CFA through the Deputy Chief Officers and ACFO’s in the coming weeks on matters of preparation. There will be no reduction in our focus on maintaining safety standards for all firefighting activities.
I have no doubt that CFA members will rise to the challenge, as they have demonstrated year in year out for the past 75 years.
Change is constant but change can also impact on our wellbeing so I’d urge anyone who needs support to take advantage of the tools and resources we have in place through the Member Assistance Program (1800 959 232) which is available 24/7.
Once again, I thank you all for ongoing commitment and dedication to CFA.