This chapter considers issues relating to Fire and Rescue Service operational staff (operational staff) of Brigades established under the Fire Brigades Act 1942 (the Fire Brigades Act).
As at 30 June 2013, DFES had an approved operational staff allocation of 1 111. Operational staff are employed under s 20(2) of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998 (the Fire and Emergency Services Act) and are subject to the provisions of the Fire Brigades Act and Fire Brigades Regulations 1943 (the Fire Brigades Regulations). Operational staff remuneration, terms and conditions of service are covered by the Fire Brigade Employees’ Award 1990 and the Western Australian Fire Service Enterprise Bargaining Agreement 2011 – AG203/2011. Section 20 of the Fire and Emergency Services Act was inserted in 2012 and has operated satisfactorily since then.
The functions of Career Brigades are derived through the FES Commissioner and are set out in s 25 of the Fire Brigades Act as follows:
Subject to this Act, the functions of the FES Commissioner under this Act are-
(a) to take, superintend and enforce all necessary steps for preventing and extinguishing fires and protecting and saving life and property from fire;
(b) to take all practicable measures —
(i) for protecting and saving life and property endangered by hazardous material incidents;
(ii) for confining and ending such an incident; and
(iii) for rendering the site of such an incident safe;
(c) to take and superintend all necessary steps in rescue operations;
(ca) to promote the safety of life and property from fire, hazardous material incidents, accidents, explosions or other incidents requiring rescue operations .
9.1 ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS
The emergency service Acts set out the functions and powers of operational staff while comprehensive administration provisions are contained in the Fire Brigades Regulations which deal with matters such as discipline, appeals, leave, conduct and offences.
The Fire Brigades Regulations are currently being updated to incorporate contemporary requirements as a result of a separate review undertaken in consultation with operational staff and the United Firefighters Union.
Many Australian States have incorporated administrative provisions in their emergency services Acts. Victoria, in the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Act 1958, lists offences and provides detail in respect of laying of charges, disciplinary proceeding and appeals. South Australia has provisions relating to disciplinary proceedings and appeals and has a code of conduct in the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005. Division 3 of the Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990 in Queensland provides detail in respect of disciplinary action.
DFES PREFERRED OPTION; AVBFB PREFERRED OPTION
9.1.1 Administrative provisions contained in the regulations only
Although it is recognised that because of the unique and diverse nature of volunteer bush fire brigade members, this section does not apply directly to the AVBFB’s current constituency, it is noted that the DFES preferred position is supported on the broad principle of limiting the prescriptiveness of legislation.
NOTE: Support for this option is based on the representation contained in the preamble that it does not apply to volunteers.
OTHER OPTIONS NOT SUPPORTED
9.1.2 Set out broad administrative provisions in the new emergency services Act