CODE 2, VOL 35, NO 24 : 12 july 2021


For some years, your union has been working to repair your confidence in operational firefighter recruitment. 

For example, your union has specifically been working to address issues with the physical assessment – the Operational Focused Abilities Test (OFAT).

This work has resulted in an agreed OFAT standard. But it wasn’t an easy process.

For too long, people with no genuine operational experience have been meddling in operational firefighter recruitment.  People outside of QFRS who wear your uniform but have never been operational firefighters and others who somehow (mistakenly) think they know what skills and experiences and abilities a recruit firefighter ought to have, even though they know nothing about the job.

We have now successfully ensured the voices that needed to be heard have been heard, and the agreed position on OFAT has been backed by external scientific validation.

On Friday 9 July 2021, the UFUQ and QFES Commissioner Leach finalised an exchange of letters that confirmed our agreement for the OFAT to remain in place for a minimum of five years.

I thank all parties who have participated in genuine consultation, including operational firefighters and those within QFRS recruitment, and Professor Ian Stewart from the Queensland University of Technology, for their contribution to establish a best practice physical assessment.

By securing this outcome, we can now be more confident of stability, and that physical requirements for recruits into fire and rescue response will not be reduced at the risk of the health and safety of UFUQ members.

I thank Commissioner Leach for providing genuine consultation on the matter, we have proactively and successfully negotiated five years of surety for the OFAT are locked in.

John Oliver - General Secretary

Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary 
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD