CODE 2, VOL 36, NO 7 : 28 april 2022
IS QFES TURNING THEIR THREE RING CIRCUS INTO A SIDESHOW ALLEY?
It has come to the attention of the UFUQ state office that QFES has been going through a process of identifying a pool of ‘meritorious’ uniformed senior officers from Fire and Rescue, along with public servants and other fake firies from the remaining parts of QFES, all of whom QFES appears to be considering are able to act in senior operational and command roles.
It appears as though the current Acting Commissioner’s intention is to pool these people who have made ‘merit’ into a group to be able to act in any Executive Director and/or Assistant Commissioner role, be it an operational role or just a part of the QFES administrivia.
We learned of this apparent scheme when multiple senior officer UFUQ Members provided us with the details of what is going on.
What does this mean for you and your operational roles in Fire and Rescue?
It means QFES may be intending to take the next step in destruction of the vital requirement for regional Assistant Commissioners to have professional firefighting qualifications and experience by appointing unqualified people to the AC role.
It means someone who has managed a part of the public service, has an AIIMs qualification from TAFE and has googled firefighting might just become the next AC in your region, destroying more than a century of assurance that those who may now have to take command and/or control of a major Fire and Rescue incident in your region will have never been an actual firefighter.
I don’t need to say any more on this point for you to understand how very wrong the thinking of your current senior leadership team is, because they’re the ones who’ve come up with this scheme to further devalue you and your professional roles.
What’s the UFUQ doing about this?
Your union has written to Commissioner Leach, disputing the process that’s been undertaken and appears to be almost completed (on behalf of our senior officer members, and on behalf of all of you for health and safety and job safety reasons) and we await the QFES response to us lodging the dispute.
You can find a copy of our correspondence here.
The status quo has been invoked by your union in the lodgement of the dispute, so QFES is not permitted to progress any of their ambitions for this scheme until the dispute is resolved.
I’ve been reporting to you for over two years that the way to fix all of this rot is to cut it all out, and return Fire and Rescue to an operationally focussed fire service.
This work is progressing, and your union continues to push the Queensland state government any way we can to achieve this aim. This latest example of the absolute failure of your senior officer managers (who are clearly working against your interests) and those who pretend to represent them only makes the resolve of your union stronger that the end of QFES cannot come soon enough.
The apparent scheme to put non-operationally experienced people in charge of Fire and Rescue is a fundamental change in QFES (on top of the very many harebrained and ridiculous ideas they’ve had in the past 9 years) and your union is treating this as a significant matter and I’ll report back as soon as there is any progress.
John Oliver - General Secretary
Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD