Thursday, 23 May 2013

Rural fire service – Malone review

Volunteers in the Rural fire service especially primary producer brigades in areas west of the Great Divide in Qld were more than a little cheesed off with how the service was run with an administration seemly out of touch with the needs and the realities of fighting fires in the bush.

Photo sourced RFBAQ article

They were frustrated by things like ordered equipment very slow to be delivered; an overstaffed head office but with essential regional offices being closed down; an increasing move to micro management of rural brigades from afar instead of playing a supportive role to efforts in the field; local experience and local knowledge not respected; inappropriate, highly structured emergency response procedures and little emphasis on preventive mitigation; panic suspension of permits very early in the fire season when it was ideal for cooler preventive burns; red tape such as criminal check being made on volunteers even those with long service medals; training courses that were next door to useless and ever increasing paperwork.

In my Hookswood Rd Fire post back in early December 2012, I wrote about how frustrated and angry many volunteers were at the farcical mismanagement by Qld Fire & Rescue of a fire north of Miles. I mentioned that on the day before attending this fire that I was at a public forum in Roma for an inquiry into the rural fire service. This was known as the Malone review headed by Ted Malone Assistant Minister for Emergency Volunteers. Mr Malone and his review team conducted 13 forums across the state and received 240 submissions before the Malone Review into Rural Fire Services in Queensland was written and released.

The Roma forum was well attended and there was appreciation for the insights that Injune landowner, Ray Klein, brought before the review team. Ray had a 20 year career in the Rural fire service; he ran the regional office in Roma before retiring from a paid position in the service to move back to the family farm at Injune and remaining active as a volunteer in his local brigade in the rural fire service.

Below is a scanned image of a letter to the editor by Ray Klein in Roma’s Western Star newspaper. Ray gives high praise to the Malone review calling it as “nothing less than exceptional with its accurate findings.”

Also supporting the Malone review as “one of the most important and positive steps” is the Rural Fire Brigades Association of Queensland. From the RFBAQ newsletter is this article, Malone Review of Rural Fire Service Queensland announced, which list the following facts it found amongst the 91 recommendations of the Malone review.

  • All RFS District Offices will remain open
    (No District Office closures in Queensland, possibility of opening more)
  • All RFS District Office staff positions will remain
    (all current DI, ATSO, BTSO & Admin staff positions will be retained)
  • District Inspectors will now be empowered to support their brigades and volunteers
    (District delegations will be greatly increased with most decisions made locally)
  • The RFSQ will be led by a Deputy Chief Officer, Rural Fire Service Queensland
    (the RFSQ will be a separate organisation from the Urban Fire Service)
  • Brigades and volunteers will be able to access more and a wider range of training
    (including 4wd, truck licences, chainsaw, first aid and the ability for recognition of prior learning and including skills portability from SES and other volunteer services)
  • Existing BSO’s will be attached to District Offices with flexibility to meet local needs
    (over time the role will be extended to all District Inspectors Offices with role flexibility identified against local needs)
  • There will be 3 Regional Offices within the RFSQ
    (District delegations will be greatly increased with most decisions made locally)
  • Equipment and trucks will be designed to meet local needs incorporating local volunteer knowledge and requirements
  • Red tape reduction will see Volunteers and Brigades using simple, workable, reporting and financial forms and induction processes
  • Command & control of incidents
    Vegetation fire in rural area – RFSQ
    Structural fire in rural area – Urban with RFSQ support
    Vegetation fire in urban area –Urban with RFSQ support if required
    Structural fire in urban area – Urban
  • Brigades currently receiving a levy from council will continue to receive same
  • Brigades currently not receiving a levy from council will be supported by council in pursuit of levy or support if requested
  • Fit for duty will be overhauled
  • PPE will be more readily available
    (complete overhaul of the supply chain)
  • RFBAQ elected volunteer Representatives will sit on RFSQ staff selection panels
  • RFSQ appliances will remain yellow
  • Formation of Ministerial Advisory Council for RFS & SES Volunteers
  • RFSQ develop and distribute a less formal uniform for Volunteers and Brigades

Previously Published related posts


No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome to a place that has a focus (but not exclusively) on regional and rural Australia open for anyone living anywhere to read, learn and interact. Please feel free to make a comment.

You can use some HTML codes such as, a for active; b for bold; i for italics

Active code - substitute a for @
<@ href="web address">linked words

[Click Here] for a link to another site where there is a very good simple explanation.