Donating their time and effort to the work of the AVBFB is not unusual for most of the bush fire brigade volunteers on our Committee and Executive but the last two weeks have seen some in our tireless team travelling to Borden, Carnamah, Merredin, Northam, Narrogin and Capel to attend Regional and District operational advisory committee meetings to represent and consult with many of our incredible members who also took time away from paid work and family to attend.
While each meeting included discussions about different local issues, there were some general themes that appeared at most including:
- The sense that patience is getting thin in regard to the promise of a variety of fit for purpose vehicles being delivered. The AVBFB provided feedback that we had seen positive changes in the process being led by DFES staff Brad Delavale and John Kirk, but heard that several local governments had become so frustrated that they were considering applying for ESL funding to procure their own vehicles outside of the DFES process, believing they can do it more cheaply and quickly.
- An update on the disappointing reversal of the really good work we had done with DFES in the training arena and our response to investigate other options for bush fire volunteers
- Questions about the Bushfire Centre of Excellence such as will the offices of the Rural Fire Division be located there and whether or not the Association had heard back from the Premier or Minister in response to its offer to colocate and build a Centre for Bushfire Education and Heritage to build stronger and more close collaboration with DFES.
- Concerns that there might be a malfunction in the new CAD system that is turning out other services from further away to incidents rather than closer Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades.
- If the AVBFB State Council meeting in Bridgetown recently will result in any significant changes to our operation and future.
- If there would be a volunteer conference this year
- Questions about our generous small grants program sponsored by Western Power
- Concern that the AVBFB hasn’t been consulted with regard to proposed legislative changes that volunteers are hearing is being developed
The President Dave Gossage, who did the most km’s of all the AVBFB team and was at every one of these meetings, also provided some background about the success the Association is having in its community education and support work thanks to a couple of very dedicated volunteers, our pride in being able to deliver a few very worthy hardship grants to volunteers doing it tough, work going on to integrate the bushfire games with the Mining Emergency Response Competition (MERC) games this year and answered many different questions from volunteers, farmers and local government officers.
It’s been a very busy two weeks for the Association which has delivered some very positive outcomes for all involved. We thank everyone who regularly comes together at meetings like these across the state to share and listen in the hope of making things better, safer and more rewarding for all.
If you or your brigade would like to know details about any issue raised here or have questions or comments about any other topic, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org