CODE 2, VOL 31, NO 3 : 10 february 2017

PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTER AND COMMUNICATIONS officers UPDATE

Response times

Your union was recently informed of the commencement of an internal inquiry by fire and rescue into response times and a trend identified that they are increasing.

This is a complex issue that must be handled appropriately as it has far reaching ramifications.

We are all aware that there are many factors, known and unknown, potentially influencing response times.

I want to assure you that your union will push to ensure that the investigation into response times considers any and all potential causes including those beyond station response.

We are also all aware that the levy collection boundaries do not and should not determine the response time expectations.

Instead, fire and rescue should strive to achieve world’s best practice response times and publish those, and then work to maintain and improve them.

Your union considers that the ability of fire and rescue crews to respond quickly is vital to the health and safety of you and your colleagues, and that of the Queensland public.

The work that the response time review team is doing so far involves trying to identify general response capability at a range of stations across Queensland and the review team have welcomed your union’s involvement in the process.

We thank them for their consultative approach to date.

The state office has already provided some feedback to the response time review process and we will be on the front foot to ensure that –
a) response times are as good as they can be, and
b) that you and your fellow members don’t have the blame put upon you that the problem is somehow at station level.

Your union encourages an examination of response times and I will keep you informed of the progress of any reviews that occur.

QFES restructure of the restructure – Update

QFES has made many statements about restructuring the agency since a process commenced of reversing the doomed-from-the-start changes forced through by the Newman led government, such as those arising from the completely discredited Keelty, Malone, Alison, KPMG, Deloittes, and other secret reports.

It’s been difficult to keep up with the announcements arising from the multitude of reports coming at you from all directions.

One thing that is certain is that firefighters and fire communication officers are getting on with the job of protecting 100% of Queensland, whilst all of this goes on around them.

Your union accepts that the void left by the PSBA being dismantled needs to be addressed.  It appears that whilst QFES are correcting the mistakes made by the introduction of the failed PSBA, they have taken the opportunity to have a little tinker with all areas of QFES.

As with the response times review, on your behalf, I want to ensure that you and your colleagues in fire and rescue are able to do your job safely.  We want to protect and strengthen fire and rescue to ensure we get the best outcome possible out of the current restructure process.

You may also be aware that a ‘refresh’ of role descriptions is underway.  This is occurring alongside the restructure. 

I thank AC Short and his role description refresh team for their open and consultative attitude to the refresh process to date.

Your union is involved in the refresh of all role descriptions relevant to our membership and expects that for operational firefighters and fire communication officers, very little will be required to change but for cosmetic updates to match new HR systems and organisational naming etc. 

I will keep you updated on both the progress of the latest restructure process, and the role description refresh process.

Basegrade firefighter recruitment and recruit training
Recently, your union welcomed an invitation from AC Short to participate in a briefing session on the topic of basegrade firefighter attraction, recruitment, selection and training.

Your union has also been invited to participate in a newly formed working group on the issues. 

I will keep you informed as we commence our participation in ensuring the best future for fire and rescue firefighters, and fire communications.

FireCom ‘Gate 3’ – Update

QFES has invited your union to participate in a committee to begin working out a way forward for fire communications. 

Again, this is a welcome change in methods from QFES, when compared to the secretive and ultimately disastrous ‘Gate 3’ model that failed to launch in 2016 without any consultation at all with your union.

Your union rightly expects to be consulted on ALL matters that affect our employment. 

We will ensure we remain fully informed and that we are given the opportunity to clearly present our suggestions to the committee that is to be formed to manage the way forward for fire communications in Queensland. 

I will call for fire communication member representatives to participate in the committee to nominate their interest in the near future.

Station Officer Joe Ryan AFSM

We were delighted to hear that one of the most active members of your union was awarded the Australian Fire Services Medal (AFSM) on Australia Day this year.

Joe Ryan is a Station Officer from Brisbane North Branch who has held various union positions over the last 20 years including branch secretary, branch president, assistant state secretary and senior vice president. 

Joe has always been a strong advocate in the workplace, using his natural leadership and integrity to stand up for the rights and entitlements of his fellow firefighters.

Joe demonstrated this dedication and passion when he stood in as a key witness in the union’s lengthy QIRC arbitration against the fire service in 2014.

He has also played an integral role in negotiating the implementation of the reserve roster, an achievement that will have positive ramifications for members across the state.

Joe is an exemplary role model for firefighters and officers.

The AFSM could not have gone to a more worthy candidate and I take this opportunity on behalf of all members to congratulate Joe on his receipt of the award.

 

John Oliver - General Secretary