Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) elected volunteer committee members from around the state met in Bridgetown over three days last weekend to discuss a number of significant issues and make plans to address them.
The Association’s lack of capacity to meet the ever-growing needs of our members and other stakeholders (including government) pervaded many of the discussions and it was agreed that action would be taken to try to remedy this central, limiting issue ASAP. It is premature to announce any specific changes today, but members will soon see the Association progress some projects aimed at securing more resources that will better enable us to pursue our objectives.
After investing many hundreds of volunteer hours over 5+ years, some recent, unilateral decisions by the DFES Training Academy that have reversed much of the good progress we had made for bush fire volunteers prompted the committee to agree to a number of significant differences to our advocacy in the training space going forward. We have yet to formally inform the Commissioner of the specifics of the decisions, and since our preference is always to privately notify stakeholders before making anything public, members can expect a more detailed statement in this regard in the coming weeks.
The committee also formally resolved to advocate for several specific issues including the creation of a standby fleet for the Bush Fire Service and more ESL equity corrections such as operational payments for brigades and AED units for all appliances.
We were also very appreciative that DFES staff Chief Superintendent Brad Delavale Operational Fleet Project Director and Jennifer Pidgeon, Manager Strategic Volunteer and Youth Programs took the time out of their weekends to travel down to share and listen in regard to their specific portfolios.
All in all, it was a very productive weekend of solid planning and sharing for our hard working volunteer committee and we look forward to providing more detail of the decisions taken and hopefully some very positive outcomes in response.