Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) welcomes the release of the Fire Services Implementation Monitor’s (FSIM) 2021-22 Annual Report (the Report).
The FSIM found that FRV and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) are making strong progress towards delivering a modern fire and rescue service. It also highlighted a range of challenges being experienced by the two organisations as they implement fire services reform.
FRV is proud of the progress that has been made, despite the challenges presented by the scale and complexity of the fire services reform, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Acting Fire Rescue Commissioner, Gavin Freeman said the Report focused on year two of a 10-year reform program. He said there is time to address the issues identified in the report and to work collaboratively with CFA and FRV’s partners to maximise opportunities for future success.
“FRV’s 10-year journey is well supported by our 2022-2032 Strategic Plan, which outlines the strategic direction for our organisation, and shares our vision, opportunities, priorities, actions, and measures for the next 10 years,” Acting Commissioner Freeman said.
“The contribution of individual staff and ongoing support from FRV’s industrial partner, the United Firefighters Union (UFU), have been invaluable in delivering the reform so far.”
“Importantly, the Report notes that FRV employees and CFA volunteers have a ‘get on with the job' attitude, which must be commended. Our people, working with CFA and the UFU, are implementing the reform while maintaining a high level of service for the community.
“Regardless of whether the area is serviced by FRV or CFA, a fire and rescue service will respond to help Victorian residents in an emergency, with all Victorians receiving an exemplary service no matter where they live.
“It is pleasing the Report has recognised the improvements FRV has made since the last reporting period, particularly the work we have done to develop and communicate our values, foster our culture, and the progress made on the development and rollout of our employee Health Model.”
The Implementation Plan outlines 41 actions for CFA and FRV. Of these, two actions are complete, with 35 actions on track or experiencing minor or longer delays owing to the complexity and challenges associated with the reform. Four actions are still to commence.
FRV acknowledges there are a range factors impacting the effectiveness of operations within the reformed fire services model and is working to identify solutions.
FRV supports the development of a shared definition of complementary fire services and will collaborate with CFA to achieve this.
FRV has also taken meaningful steps to improve support for secondees working with CFA.
“In the last 12 months, we have established a Secondment Management Team to strengthen the practical support available to FRV firefighters working in a co-located brigade and to address issues as they arise,” Acting Commissioner Freeman said.
FRV also notes the limitations of the Report’s consultation, which focused on co-located brigades, and as a result may not reflect the full range of views across Victoria’s fire services and the experiences of FRV firefighters and support staff across the state.
Reviewed 23 March 2023