Message from George Verry, Chief Executive Officer
With 400 attendees representing 230 fire brigades and rural fire forces, this year’s UFBA Annual Conference in November provided an inspiring forum for members to discuss issues regarding our fire services and the challenges and changes ahead.
Of particular significance was Minister Peter Dunne’s announcement of the structure of our future fire services at the Conference Opening.
The Government aims to bring volunteer, career, urban and rural firefighters together in one, unified new national fire service.
The goals for the proposed new structure are to provide stronger support for volunteers at all levels, ensure fire services meet community expectations, and modernise the management of the Fire Service to make it fit for purpose in the 21st century.
Mr Dunne acknowledged and thanked UFBA for the role we played in the fire services review and for the input we provided following our consultation process with members.
This recognition of our work by the Minister and the support of DIA personnel at Conference underpins the strength of the UFBA’s advocacy on behalf of members.
Ongoing relationship with DIA
Recently I met with Helen Wyn, the newly appointed Deputy Chief Executive, Policy, Regulatory and Ethnic Affairs at the Department of Internal Affairs.
We discussed the consultation process the UFBA put in place with members following the release of the Fire Services Review Discussion Document in May and our well-regarded submission.
I confirmed our intention to undertake extensive member consultation on the proposed changes to fire legislation, leadership and resourcing and continue working with DIA during the transition to a new unified Fire Service.
Ms Wyn assured me that DIA sees the UFBA as a major stakeholder in this ongoing process.
Our rural colleagues
Only 37 of our country’s 187 rural fire forces are UFBA members - you can see these here
We intend to represent the interests of our rural members on issues such as:
- The need to continue the community based focus of volunteer forces
- Funding for training, resources and equipment
- Promoting the importance of local leadership
Enhanced support of firefighters as ‘community leaders’ is also a priority (as those who previously filled these roles, for example, police, bank managers and postmasters, no longer have a presence in many rural areas).
Joining the UFBA
I would appreciate you encouraging your rural contacts who are not members of UFBA to consider joining our advocacy organisation.
Please email their name, email address and phone number to me here so we can contact them about the benefits of joining.
If your rural colleagues are already UFBA members, please encourage them to register on our website here to receive regular news about our work representing the interests of members.
Have your say
We will ensure all our members—rural, urban, volunteer and career—will have opportunities to ‘have their say’ during the transition to the new Fire Service.
Thank you all for your commitment to building strong sustainable brigades
My best wishes for the festive season and for the busy year ahead in 2016.
Read more about the work of our rural colleagues in the UFBA December 2015 newsletter
Photo credit: Colin Robson
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