Volunteer Bush Fire Association welcomes Rural Fire Division announcement
The Association representing WA’s largest emergency service – the Volunteer Bush Fire Service – has welcomed the State Government’s creation of a new Rural Fire Division.
AVBFB President Dave Gossage said although there is still a lot of detail to be confirmed, his Association is very supportive of the apparent direction the government has taken after promising to create a Rural Fire Service prior to the last election.
“Based on what we have seen so far, the AVBFB is very pleased with today’s announcement,” Mr Gossage said.
“We warmly welcome the appointment of Mr Murray Carter to the new role of Executive Director of the new Rural Fire Division and look forward to working with him to develop a leadership team that truly understands the unique needs and motives of the tens of thousands of amazing bush fire brigade volunteers throughout the State.”
“The announcement of a new ESL Referral and Grants Advisory Committee to provide better transparency and accountability with regard to where ESL funds are allocated is excellent news.”
“The AVBFB is also very appreciative that Minister Logan appears to have done all he could in the current environment to make the new division as independent of DFES as possible.”
“Our ideal was to have a totally independent Rural Fire Service as recommended by the Ferguson Inquiry, but accept that the current financial and political realty made that virtually impossible.”
“We therefore see the plan announced today as a very positive step forward in what will inevitably be a long journey of repairing the damage of the past.”
Mr Gossage said the AVBFB also welcomed other elements of the initial announcement including $80m being earmarked for the establishment of the RFD, $18m for a new Bush Fire Centre of Excellence and the commitment to ensure a direct line of contact between the RFD and Minister.
“The Association has worked extremely hard for many years to try to explain the need for Government to better understand the unique needs and motives of the incredible women and men of the volunteer bush fire service,” Mr Gossage said.
“After being shot as the messenger so many times before, it is personally very rewarding to finally feel like the volunteers have been heard.”
“I want to take the opportunity to sincerely thank the invaluable members of WA’s volunteer Bush Fire Service – or Rural Fire Division – for maintaining their dedicated, professional service to the State despite having to fight for the recognition we appear to have won today,” Mr Gossage concluded.