Vic­to­ria plans in­creased for­est fire fighter numbers

While Up­per House re­jects con­tro­ver­sial CFA Bill

Australian Forests and Timber - - Bushfire Preparedness -

THE VIC­TO­RIAN Gov­ern­ment is re­cruit­ing 300 project fire fighters for sum­mer and 49 new per­ma­nent for­est and fire op­er­a­tions of­fi­cers to help keep Vic­to­ri­ans safe in the upcoming fire sea­son.

This fire sea­son For­est Fire Man­age­ment Vic­to­ria will have more than 1,000 front­line for­est fire fighters, sup­ported by a fur­ther 2,000 staff from across the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning, Parks Vic­to­ria, Mel­bourne Wa­ter and VicForests who have a fire role in ad­di­tion to their nor­mal du­ties.

The project fire fighters re­spond to bush­fires, sup­port sea­sonal planned burn­ing prepa­ra­tion and de­liv­ery, un­der­take road­side veg­e­ta­tion and fire trail main­te­nance.

The per­ma­nent for­est fire man­age­ment staff un­der­take field roles across re­gional Vic­to­ria and per­form crit­i­cal roles in fight­ing fires and re­spond­ing to other emer­gen­cies.

They also take part in the prepa­ra­tion and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment for planned burn­ing, along with pest and weed con­trol, and road main­te­nance.

These jobs will be based at Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning and Parks Vic­to­ria of­fices and de­pots in re­gional Vic­to­ria.

A num­ber of po­si­tions have been iden­ti­fied for Aus­tralian Abo­rig­i­nal or Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der Peo­ple, re­flect­ing a strong com­mit­ment for a di­verse work­force that re­flects the Vic­to­rian com­mu­nity. To find out more visit www.ffm. or call 136 186.

“By the start of the upcoming fire sea­son we will have more per­ma­nent for­est fire fighters than ever be­fore, us­ing the world’s best Vic­to­rian-built equip­ment to keep our state safe.” -- Min­is­ter for En­ergy, En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Lily D’Ambrosio

“Em­ploy­ing ad­di­tional for­est fire fighters not only helps to keep Vic­to­ri­ans safe, it also cre­ates jobs in our com­mu­ni­ties.” -Min­is­ter for Emer­gency Ser­vices James Mer­lino

“These new roles will help de­liver Safer To­gether and en­sure our pre­ven­tion pro­grams work with re­gional com­mu­ni­ties to de­liver the best re­sults.” -- Chief Fire Of­fi­cer Stephanie Ro­tarangi

Con­tro­ver­sial fire re­forms

Vic­to­ria’s up­per house Com­mit­tee on Fire Ser­vices’ re­port has rec­om­mended MPs re­ject the plan to merge the Coun­try Fire Au­thor­ity and Met­ro­pol­i­tan Fire Brigade, and start the re­form process from scratch.

The La­bor Gov­ern­ment still hopes to push through the bill, but the op­po­si­tion wants to take it to the next elec­tion - which is 14 months away.

The re­port, en­dorsed by coali­tion and Shoot­ers, Fish­ers and Farm­ers mem­bers, re­jected the plan to merge all paid fire­fight­ers into the new Fire Res­cue Vic­to­ria, and cre­ate a vol­un­teer-only CFA.

“Due to the lack of im­ple­men­ta­tion, op­er­a­tional and fund­ing cer­tainty, fail­ure to un­der­take con­sul­ta­tion, and con­se­quen­tial po­lar­i­sa­tion of fire ser­vice vol­un­teers and staff, the bill should be with­drawn,” the re­port said.

La­bor needs three of the five up­per house cross­bench MPs to agree to the changes to pass the bill, with the two Shoot­ers, Fish­ers and Farm­ers MPs sig­nalling they will vote against it.

The gov­ern­ment has taken a con­cil­ia­tory ap­proach since the re­port was re­leased, pledg­ing to work with all par­ties to get it passed.

The re­port also de­manded pre­sump­tive cancer com­pen­sa­tion leg­is­la­tion, which will give fire­fight­ers with spe­cific can­cers a right to a pay­out, be sep­a­rated out from the fire re­form bill.

The cancer laws were con­tro­ver­sially in­cluded in the re­struc­ture bill in an at­tempt to wedge the op­po­si­tion into vot­ing for it.

VicForests vi­tal con­tri­bu­tion

In ad­di­tion to its pri­mary role of for­est man­age­ment ,har­vest­ing and re­gen­er­at­ing na­tive for­est, VicForests also plays a sup­port­ing role fire man­age­ment across the State.

Wild­fire is a sig­nif­i­cant threat to the State of Vic­to­ria’s com­mu­ni­ties and forests and VicForests is com­mit­ted to the sup­pres­sion of wild­fire in or­der to pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties, as­sets and en­vi­ron­men­tal and cul­tural val­ues in­clud­ing valu­able tim­ber re­sources.

VicForests staff un­der­take a broad range of fire roles in­clud­ing op­er­a­tional fire-fight­ing, in­ci­dent man­age­ment and sup­port roles such as lo­gis­tics and in­for­ma­tion, and plant and aircraft sup­port.

In ad­di­tion to this VicForests Con­trac­tors reg­u­larly pro­vide plant equip­ment such as bull­doz­ers, ex­ca­va­tors and skid­ders at blazes across the State.

VicForests is part of For­est Fire Man­age­ment Vic­to­ria (FFMVic) which also in­cludes the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning (DELWP), Parks Vic­to­ria, and Mel­bourne Wa­ter. VicForests also works along­side the CFA, other emer­gency ser­vices and lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties year round to pro­tect peo­ple, prop­erty and iconic land­scapes.

We will have more per­ma­nent for­est fire fighters than ever be­fore, us­ing the world’s best Vic­to­rian-built equip­ment to keep our state safe

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