Update from CEO Paul Smith

I’d like to begin my final column for the year with an acknowledgement of the dedication and passion which all of you have brought to your roles this year.


We’ve had a number of challenges to deal with, but have still continued to deliver for the millions of Victorians we serve.

I was present earlier this year when many of our people were formally recognised for living our values at the Spirit of CFA Awards.  This inaugural event provided a great platform to recognise the efforts of our people and I congratulate all winners, finalists and nominees.

But our achievements are spread right across the organisation and I’d encourage you to read the CFA Annual Report 2017/18, which was tabled this week, to see just how diverse we are as an organisation.

Among the highlights for 2018 are a number of initiatives which will help position CFA for the future and support our people including:

  • Rollout of wellbeing programs to support the mental health and wellbeing of staff and volunteers;
  • Introduced a range of new diversity and inclusion initiatives;
  • Launch of the Community Engagement framework;
  • Development of the strategy to guide our increased focus on implementing CFA’s child safe framework;
  • Implementing ways to better connect headquarters with our districts and regions; and
  • Significant progress to support our Board in preparing a strategy to guide CFA over the next 10 years.

Importantly, we have reset and reinforced our values, with a significant focus on behaviours and leadership expectations across the organisation.

This will be a continued area of attention next year as we work through the feedback from the 2019 People Matter Survey and commit to further actions to improve our culture.

We also look forward to working closely with the Victorian Government as they implement reforms. We will keep you informed as this work progresses.

As a fire service we are well-prepared, trained and resourced to meet the significant local fire threat this season, which is a credit to the work which has been undertaken over the past year.

As Steve has outlined, we’ve already experienced some early and challenging fires this season, while still being able to support our colleagues interstate. This is why CFA is so valued as an organisation, both within Australia and internationally.

While the fire season is upon us and many of you will be on heightened alert during this period, I hope you will get to have some well-earned rest and celebrate with your families.

I look forward to working with you in 2019.

Author: Paul Smith