Message from the Chairperson

On behalf of my fellow Directors I would like to welcome you to the Council of Australian Volunteer Fire Associations (CAVFA).

As a council of 11 Australian state and territory fire associations, our over-riding aim is to assist volunteer fire fighters and operational support volunteers to support and protect their communities and the diverse environments across Australia. Overall the council represents over 250,000 volunteer fire fighters.

Member associations of CAVFA include:

  • ACT Volunteer Brigades Association;
  • Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades of WA;
  • NSW Rural Fire Service Association;
  • NT Bushfire Volunteers Association;
  • Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland;
  • Queensland Auxiliary Firefighters Association;
  • SA Country Fire Service Volunteers Association;
  • Tasmanian Retained Volunteer Firefighters Association;
  • Tasmanian Volunteer Fire Brigades Association;
  • Volunteer Fire Brigades of Victoria; and
  • WA Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association.

Since the Council’s establishment we have succeeded in providing a united voice to represent volunteer fire fighters in conversations with Federal Government and other key stakeholders. This has included an agreement in the form of a memorandum of understanding signed between the Council and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC). The Council has also initiated a National Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey amongst volunteer firefighters. Now in its second year, the annual survey provides the Council with direct feedback from volunteers on a range of issues identified as important to them.

Other achievements have included the Fair Work Amendment (Respect for Emergency Service Volunteers) Bill 2016; Affiliate membership of AFAC to enable a volunteer voice on 4 AFAC Groups – Learning and Development, Rural and Land Management, Volunteer Management Technical Group and Work, Health and Safety Technical Group; and affiliate membership of Bush Fire & Natural Hazards CRC.

Currently the council has identified four key areas of priority for the next 12 months:

  1. The national recognition and alignment of training qualifications;
  2. Adoption of a national position on presumptive legislation e.g. equal coverage/no discrimination for all volunteer and career fire fighters for the 12 cancers listed in the federal legislation;
  3. The conduct of a national annual Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey;
  4. Adoption of a national 40 km/h speed limit for vehicles passing an emergency vehicle in attendance at an incident.

I look forward to keeping you up to date with the council’s movements as we work to assist and improve conditions for all rural fire service volunteers across Australia.

Andy Wood
Chairperson – Council of Australian Volunteer Fire Associations