Council of Australian Volunteer Fire Associations meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Wednesday, 2 Sep 2015

Representatives from the Council of Australian Volunteer Fire Associations (CAVFA) met with Prime Minister Tony Abbott to discuss issues relevant to volunteerism at a national level.

The meeting occurred at Parliament House on Wednesday, 12th August 2015 and was attended by Brian McKinlay AFSM OAM (NSW Rural Fire Service Association), Hans van Hammond AFSM (Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria), Bruce Corbett (Tasmanian Retained Volunteer Firefighters Association)  Ian Harding  (ACT Volunteer Brigades Association),  Andrew Ford (Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria) and Bernard Cox (NSW Rural Fire Service Association).

Amongst the topics discussed was the Council's objective to ensure strong volunteerism remains core to supporting and building community capacity for a safer Australia. The Council found this resonated strongly with the Prime Minister given his own volunteer service with the NSW Rural Fire Service.   Mr Abbott discussed at length his own experience as a member of Davidson Rural Fire Brigade in Sydney’s Warringah District.

The Council reinforced the professionalism and dedication of volunteer firefighters across Australia and communicated its keen interest to ensure that Government, the community, private enterprise and individuals understand the essential nature of volunteers in emergency management and the need for there to be legislation and support arrangements to encourage, maintain and strengthen volunteerism.  Threats to volunteers and the ethos which drives their commitment to ensuring a more resilient community was also discussed.

In addition, the Council thanked the Prime Minister on behalf of the 250,000 volunteer firefighters across the nation, for his involvement in the inaugural National Memorial Service for Fire and Emergency Services Personnel on 1 May 2015.

On Thursday, 13th August representatives of the CAVFA delegation subsequently met with the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Minister for Social Services.

Council members found both meetings to be beneficial in elevating conversation surrounding Australia’s dedicated volunteers to the top of national agenda.

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