New CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan has met with hundreds of CFA volunteers and staff member in North East Victoria as he wrapped up the final leg of his regional tour.
Having started the leg in late April with a visit to District 13 brigades, CO Heffernan resumed his tour with visits to Yea and Seymour brigades in District 12, Shepparton and Yarrawonga in District 22, and Wangaratta, Wodonga, Bonegilla, Wooragee and Beechworth in Districts 23 and 24.
“The Tour of North East Victoria allowed me to see the diverse range of environments in the region from grass and farmlands, through to heavy forestry operations, as well as the more urban and metropolitan environments,” said CO Heffernan.
“Meeting CFA volunteers has been a top priority of mine since starting in my role on 30 November.
As part of the North East tour, CO Heffernan presented a National Medal to former member Geoff Deacon at D13 HQ in Chirnside Park, recognising his contribution during Black Saturday with CFA.
He also met with District 24 members including captains of local brigades directly impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires.
“It was important to sit down with our volunteers and our staff to hear their experiences first-hand, and some of the struggles that they still live with today,” said CO Heffernan.
“There were volunteers there who were directly affected by the 2019/20 fire season, as well as those who provided substantial assistance to their neighbouring brigades.”
The Chief Officer’s trek across CFA’s North East region was the final leg of a regional tour which has already included visits to brigades across the state over the past four months.
Throughout the 21 districts and five regions, CO Heffernan met with approximately 1,500 CFA members and travelled an estimated 6,500 kilometres and was joined by CEO Natalie MacDonald throughout various legs.
“Now I’ve competed all five regions, I have a fair sense of what matters most to our volunteers and what they’re seeking to improve in the CFA locally in the short, medium, and long term,” he said.
“Our volunteers are our best critics and it always pays to check in and find out how it’s going.
“I look forward to meeting with more of our members and hearing how we can make our CFA even stronger for the future.”