The GWN news story in the Facebook post below explains why the Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) is fighting to overturn the long-held and inaccurate view that Bush Fire Brigades are not “allowed” to access funding and support for capabilities such as Breathing Apparatus (BA) and Road Crash Rescue (RCR).
There is no doubt that the amazing team at the Wiluna Town VBFB have unique risks that need to be urgently addressed with the equipment and training required to enable them to manage any number of potential incidents they are currently not able to manage safely. But they are just one of a number of Bush Fire Brigades that have been denied funding as a Local Government Bush Fire Brigade and encouraged to become a Volunteer Fire and Emergency Service (VFES) or other DFES-controlled brigade with the suggestion that doing so will improve their chances of being properly funded.
As the Captain says in this short video, the Brigade members don’t want to fight about the badge on the side of the appliance, they just want the tools they need to protect their community and do it without putting themselves and their colleagues at unnecessary risk.
While many have been led to believe that Bush Fire Brigades can’t be funded for other capabilities, it is simply incorrect and a sad indication of petty politics at play.
The AVBFB asked DFES Chief Superintendents to reassure the Wiluna Town VBFB and Local Government that funding for added capability can and will be provided without changing to any other type of Brigade. After being informed that DFES would not involve us in discussing the issue, have written to the Commissioner to ask for his common-sense (and immediate) intervention.
We do not encourage Bush Fire Brigades to share disagreements or challenges in the media, however, in this case we fully support the Brigade for having tried to get a resolution by following “due process” and getting no result. The AVBFB is actively advocating for an immediate increase in support for this Brigade but is also championing this as an example of many other similar situations in which local governments and brigades have not been fully informed of their legal right to access the funding they need and maintain control of their local emergency services.
Thank you to GWN for pursuing the issue and producing an informative and valuable news story that will help us all achieve more positive outcomes for small and remote communities across our great state.