Regular readers will know that the amount of work the association does for state government has dramatically increased in recent times to the point where our volunteer committee was being overrun and our ability to provide direct services to members was being squeezed.
You will also know that we have tried everything possible to negotiate a better deal from DFES in regard to grant funding with no luck so far.
As a result, the committee took the calculated risk of using reserve funds to employ its first ever full-time staff member with two key KPI’s:
- Try to meet the current demands of members, state government and other stakeholders; and
- Increase the association’s long-term income and other available resources to improve and expand our member services.
Since May, we’ve invested an awful lot of time and energy in our relationships with State Government and happily report significant success on many fronts (other than financial support).
We have worked very hard to not only develop relationships with potential non-government sponsors, but importantly, on the systems that will enable us to support commercial partners in a way that will deliver meaningful outcomes for our Bushfire Volunteer members.
During that time, we:
- offered to move our head office to the Bushfire Centre of Excellence to improve cooperation with Bushfire Volunteers and increase employment in the Peel region;
- offered to build our Centre for Bushfire Education and Heritage that would see our fleet of beautifully restored Bushfire Vehicles and Equipment displayed in a community education facility in collaboration with DFES at the new Bushfire Centre of Excellence – increasing employment, tourism and heritage opportunities in the Peel region;
- negotiated an excellent office sub-lease within the WAFarmers headquarters in Perth (after our offer to move to Pinjarra was rejected);
- established a 1800 Freecall number to make it easier for our regional members to contact us;
- negotiated a MOU to cooperate with the MERC (Mining Emergency Response Competition) to co-host bushfire games on Langley Park in the Perth CBD every year;
- re-branded to better enable corporate support;
- developed and implemented a very powerful “backend” data management system to facilitate better internal communications and information sharing;
- delivered a new website for our main Bushfire Volunteers trading identity;
- secured sponsorship from several large technology companies to provide and develop communications tools;
- progressed the development of groundbreaking mobile software for members;
- set in motion many other important initiatives designed to help us help WA’s amazing Bushfire Volunteers.
Today, we are very happy to announce another big step forward in our rapid response to the increased demand for our services and continuing lack of resources to manage it: Federal Government funding for a full-time Administrative Assistant!
In fact, the work we’ve done since May has allowed us to secure Federal Government funding to employ two part-time assistants, equivalent to more than one FTE.
So it is with great excitement (and thanks to the Federal Government) to inform members that after a short “on-boarding” period, Leah and Gillian will be names you will see and hear when working with the association. As mentioned, we had hoped to secure funding to allow us to fund one full-time position, but have been very fortunate to secure funding to allow us to employ two part-time staff members, each with different, but equally as valuable, experience and skills.
Welcome Gillian and Leah and thank you to the Federal Government for enabling us to increase the resources we need to rise to the challenges ahead.