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VFBV Message to all Members - Urgent Call for Submissions/Comments to Senate Inquiry





The proposed Federal legislation to protect the volunteer based CFA and other volunteer based emergency services from industrial interference is now being examined by a Senate Committee.

The Senate Committee is encouraging volunteers to send in submissions/comments by 12 September 2016 – send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Submissions can be a simple email to show your support, or a detailed submission on what’s at stake and why the legislation is so important.

The Senate Committee will recommend whether Parliament should support the legislation or not.

There is more information below, or see the VFBV website item on the Federal Government’s Volunteer Protection Amendments to the Fair Work Act.

See below for the Senate Committee’s invitation to volunteers.



Click here for our 22 August Update to Members, which explains the volunteers’ concerns and the need for the Federal legislation.

The proposed Federal legislation would make a simple change to the Fair Work Act, making it objectionable for workplace agreements to restrict or limit the emergency service organisation’s (in our case CFA) ability to:

•             engage or deploy its volunteers;

•             provide support or equipment to those volunteers;

•             manage its relationship with, or work with, any recognised emergency management body in relation to those volunteers;

•             otherwise manage its operations in relation to those volunteers;

The legislation will also provide an ability for volunteers, through bodies such as VFBV, to make submissions to Fair Work Australia in respect of these issues if we have any concerns.


The Enterprise Bargaining Agreement – Key matters of concern

Current Commonwealth industrial law means that if the CFA/United Firefighters Union Enterprise Bargaining Agreement is registered:

•             The powers of the Chief Officer will be overridden;

•             The union will be given power of veto on issues affecting volunteer based and fully integrated organisation, operations and support;

•             Volunteer consultation rights under the CFA Volunteer Charter will be restricted; 

•             Other clauses in the EBA that are contrary to the CFA Act will apply; and

•             Volunteers will be treated as second class just because they are not paid.




Dear CFA Volunteers,


 Just last week, the Federal Government introduced legislation to protect CFA volunteers from a proposal put forward by the Victorian Government together with the United Firefighters Union.

It is apparent that many CFA members think this proposal discriminates against their rights and role as a volunteer.  The former Board of the CFA agreed and were subsequently sacked by the Victorian Government for raising their concerns. The Minister responsible for the CFA, Jane Garrett, was also forced to resign because she could not support the proposal.

Given the seriousness of this issue, the Federal Government has acted quickly to introduce legislation that seeks to protect volunteers and bring this dispute to an end.  This legislation - the Fair Work Amendment (Respect for Emergency Services Volunteers) Bill 2016 has been referred to the Senate Employment Committee for an inquiry.  This inquiry will take submissions from people who have been impacted by the proposal.

After considering the submissions, the Committee will then make a recommendation on whether the Parliament should support the legislation.

As Chair of this Senate Committee I am inviting you, and other CFA volunteers, to make a submission.

Submissions can be as short or as long as you like and can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The deadline for submission is 12 September 2016.  This is your chance to have your say, in your own words. The committee and I look forward to hearing from you.


Bridget McKenzie

Senator for Victoria

Chair, Education and Employment Legislation Committee


If the Click Here links above do not work, you can find more information here:


and here:









2016 Welfare and Efficiency Survey 

CFS Volunteers Join Influential Volunteer Survey

South Australian volunteer firefighters are about to join in a nationwide survey of Emergency Management volunteers that takes volunteer opinions and advice direct to Government and Emergency Management sector decision makers.  The survey has been a success in Victoria since 2012 and is being rolled out by each State’s representative associations as part of a move by the national body, the Council of Australian Volunteer Fire Associations (CAVFA) to take it to volunteers across the country.

Thousands of Victorian CFA volunteers take part in the survey every year; it asks questions on issues that were chosen by volunteers as most important to them, and takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete online.  The survey was developed by Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV), the association representing Victoria’s 60,000 CFA volunteers; it was designed to address a significant gap in the information available to the State’s decision makers, and over the years has become an unmatched guide to trends in volunteer opinions.

The survey is designed to better understand the issues as volunteers see them, and is used by VFBV to bring the frontline volunteers’ opinions and advice on matters affecting their welfare and efficiency directly to the State Government and senior decision makers in the Emergency Management sector.

The purpose of the VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey is to ensure that volunteers’ needs and expectations are sought, analysed and available to Government and the EM Sector so the very foundation of the volunteer-based emergency service continues to be recognised and supported to meet the future emergency services needs of the community.   The Country Fire Service Volunteers Association will utilise the survey results to do the same for CFS Volunteers here is South Australia.

The survey questions are grouped into seven themes: 


•             Respect and professionalism

•             My role as a volunteer

•             Cooperation

•             Support from CFA

•             Training by CFA

•             Recruitment and retention

•             People management – my brigade 

The survey is a cooperative process, allowing the Association to provide reliable facts and figures to support its representation of all volunteers.  The results will be studied by the CFSVA and presented to the CFS Board, and state government key stakeholders.  It will be an excellent tool for all who work to understand and support the needs of volunteers.





 click here to register




                   or see other options below:



  ·        Send your name, Brigade name and email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax to (08) 8244 6400


·        Use the attached sign up sheet to get your whole brigade involved then fax it to (08) 8244 6400 or mail to PO Box 2359 REGENCY PARK SA 5942.


 Any questions? email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CFSVA supports Victorian Volunteer Fire Fighters


Tuesday 7th June 2016


 The South Australian Country Fire Service Volunteers Association (CFSVA) extends its support to its fellow volunteer fire fighters in Victoria as they address the negative repercussions of the proposed Operational Enterprise Bargaining Agreement between the United Firefighters Union and the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA).

  "Volunteer firefighters are the spirit and backbone of Australian communities, and any attempts to devalue volunteer firefighters must immediately be treated with the contempt it deserves.” stated CFSVA President, Andy Wood.

 The CFSVA fully supports the campaign by the volunteer fire fighters and our sister association, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFVB), in challenging the intent, legitimacy and effects of the proposed EBA. 

 "The CFA is an effective and efficient community based fire and emergency service that plays a vital role in community safety, and it is inconceivable that any Government would jeopardise community safety for political gain." Mr Wood said.

  The CFSVA extends our support to the Victorian CFA volunteer fire fighters in their quest to ensure that they are appropriately trained, suitably equipped, and enabled to use their skills and qualifications without industrial and political influence.

  More information and expressions of support for the Victorian fire fighter volunteers can be viewed below:

 Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria

 CFA update

 CAVFA Letter to the Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria

 CAVFA Letter to the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, the Prime Minister of Australia

 CAVFA Letter to the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition

 Letter from Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia to the Hon. Daniel Andrews MP, Premier of Victoria  

 The Age



Call for Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) Nominations 2017     


Nominations for award of the AFSM as part of the Australia Day Honours List 2017 are now open.

Please note the CFS Awards Committee has prepared  the  AFSM guideline and nomination form  attached .  Nominations on the template should be forwarded  by email to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or alternatively marked 'Strictly Confidential' and forwarded by post to the CFS Deputy Chief Officer, Country Fire Service, GPO Box 2468, Adelaide  SA  5001. 



After prioritisation by the CFS Awards Committee, nominations are forwarded to the Chief Officer and the Governor-General, through the Minister for Emergency Services, so adherence to timelines is important.  Therefore nominations are to be forwarded no later than  Friday, 17 July 2016. 



Directors/Managers/Regional Commanders are requested to ensure this information is made available to all volunteers.   The guidelines and template will also be located on the CFS website 'Rewards and Recognition', the 'Members only' section and announced via Facebook and Twitter.   



As detailed in the guideline, the sole criterion for the award of the Australian Fire Service Medal is distinguished service. “Distinguished service” includes service that is above and beyond the normal zealous and faithful discharge of normal or ordinary service, whether short term or prolonged. It could be a special achievement or success in the performance of duty in difficult or unusual circumstances, or sustained high level performance with outcomes and recognisable benefits to CFS, the fire service in general or the community.  The service must be exceptional.  Long service alone should not be used as a basis for making nominations. 


The CFS Awards Committee looks forward to receiving your nominations.



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