Long term regular readers know just how hard the AVBFB has worked over the years to bring about change that will help the incredibly diverse volunteer bush fire service get access to better and more fit-for-purpose equipment and appliances.

We know that the needs of each brigade varies greatly due to many factors including local vegetation, soil type, community infrastructure and the undulation of terrain.

That is why the AVBFB made submissions to the recent Economic Regulation Authority inquiry into the ESL arguing for as much flexibility as possible in the way the ESL can be used. We staunchly disagree with prescriptive “lists” because we know that one size does not fit all and have made that point to the ERA inquiry in the hope that if change comes, it will include more flexibility for local decisions that result in more appropriate purchases for each unique circumstance.

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Nevertheless, we accept that the current situation is that a list does exist and to the credit of Deputy Commissioner Steve Fewster at DFES, he invited the AVBFB to a meeting today to provide input into the proposed final list for this year.

Mr Fewster reinforced that the input of experienced volunteers was very important in the process and while there was a time imperative to make the new list available to Local Governments ASAP, he committed to taking feedback from the AVBFB on the content and language used before releasing the document in its final form.

It is important to note the AVBFB was consulted a while ago as part of the process and deeply appreciates the opportunity to run our eye over the proposed final version before it is released.

While there would be a lot less concern if this relatively simple process was repeated on many other documents developed by government – including the substantive LGGS Manual – we are hopeful this new level of consultation is symptomatic of a very positive turning point in the culture.

More details of any changes will be announced when appropriate.

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