The Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) believes it is very important that a typographic error in the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Annual Report is formally explained and corrected in Parliament.
The Association made contact with DFES as soon as the error was noticed and to the credit of the agency and individual responsible, were told very quickly that the error was acknowledged and thanked for identifying the issue. It is important to be very clear that the AVBFB understands mistakes happen and does not believe any DFES employee should be criticised or even identified for an error that any of us could easily make.
However, we also believe that because the Annual Report was tabled in Parliament and could mislead its members, it is crucial that the same audience – the Parliament – should be formally told of how the error occurred (without naming or blaming any DFES staff) and what the table below should actually look like.
For clarity, the first Association in the table should be the “Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association of WA Inc”, not the “Western Australian Volunteer Fire Brigades Association Inc”, as it was named until March this year.
The second line item should in fact be us – the “Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades WA Inc”.
Although we accept this error is more than likely just a typo that anyone could easily make, there is a genuine need for transparency and accountability in our government departments and especially in the information that is presented to to Parliament.
The fact is, we received $149,000 to represent and support more than 20,000 registered volunteers from 566 Bush Fire Brigades.
It would not be fair if Parliamentarians weren’t aware that the AVBFB received its $149,000 grant nor if they were led to believe the VFRS Association received anything more than the $400,000 DFES paid it to represent and support its 2,300 volunteer members working equally as hard from their 94 brigades.
We therefore urge the government to formally explain and correct the error in Parliament as soon as possible.