Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who has provided feedback and support since I commenced as Acting CEO during what has been a challenging time for the organisation.
It’s an honour to be part of CFA. I’ve seen the commitment of CFA members and the value they bring to their communities through my experience in local government in Gippsland, as well as my previous roles in Emergency Management Victoria and the Department of Justice and Community Safety as well as through my role as State Relief and Recovery Manager at the State Control Centre.
Over the past two weeks, I’ve gained a detailed understanding of the changes that fire services reform means for CFA. I’ve also had the opportunity to hear first hand from volunteers and staff, through a number of forums, about issues and opportunities which they have identified.
Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook and I are working closely through this transition process as we know there will be a period of change and adjustment, particularly for those staff who have transferred to Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV), and those volunteers and brigades operating in and around FRV districts.
We are undertaking strategic planning work to identify any capability or resourcing gaps across the corporate structure as a result of the transfer of staff and also addressing the challenges for those staff who remain with CFA.
Our focus is on ensuring that we have the right support in place to effectively deliver on our role as a volunteer-based, community-focused fire and emergency service.
As you will have read, we’ve received significant support from Government through a $126 million funding package and we are also in the process of starting to distribute equipment purchased through the generous donations received by CFA during the last summer fire season.
We have a strong future, proudly supporting our volunteers and the work they do across Victoria. If you haven’t already read the narrative document “Our Community, Our CFA: 2020 and Beyond” and watched the updated CFA video I’d urge you to do as they illustrate the range and variety of roles we perform as a trusted authority in fire safety, community-connectedness and volunteering.
These resources go to the heart of what CFA’s community value proposition is and paints a very bright and compelling picture for our future direction and opportunities as a volunteer based organisation.
With all the changes we are experiencing as a result of reform and the COVID restrictions, I want to reinforce the importance of wellbeing as CFA’s highest priority. Your physical and mental health is paramount and I’d urge you to look out for yourselves and others during this period and make use of the CFA Member Assistance Program if you need support.
I look forward to continuing to connect with you in coming weeks and months.