Thursday, 26 July 2012
The Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland commits to Volunteer Chart
The Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland (RFBAQ) has agreed to and signed-off on the Rural Fire Service (RFS) Volunteer Charter for the next four years. The Charter is an agreement between Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) and the RFS volunteers and their representatives. The Charter provides the framework for the relationship between the parties and is an enduring agreement to which all parties are committed. The RFBAQ is proud of its significant input into the writing of the Charter and looks forward to working with the parties for the benefit of all rural fire brigade volunteers in Queensland. The Charter is also signed by the QFRS Commissioner, Lee Johnson and the Honourable Minister for Policy and Community Safety, Jack Dempsey.
The commitment states that the parties commit themselves to use and apply the Charter in a spirit of mutual respect and goodwill and to work together in that spirit to resolve any disputes that may arise in accordance with the key principles. The key principles are: make decisions in the best interest of the safety of Queensland communities; procedures are to be both practical and sustainable with a focus on reducing red tape; decision making is to be founded on a fair, just and reasonable process and will include consultation and engagement from brigades and volunteers; and decision making will not inappropriately discriminate against volunteers.
The volunteers selflessly gift their time and life skills and even their own equipment to protect life and property and to prevent and suppress fire across Queensland. They also actively promote fire prevention strategies and provide management and emergency response. They are drawn from communities throughout Queensland and are supported by their families, their employers and the communities they serve. Volunteers are motivated to serve by the results of their contribution, personal achievements and development, and the camaraderie of service.
The RFBAQ President, Mike Garrahy AFSM said, “We are very proud to have been a part of the consultation process and to have had valuable input into the Charter that governs all that we do as rural fire brigade volunteers. We look forward to a collaborative relationship with QFRS and the Department of Community Safety in achieving the best outcomes for the volunteer firefighting community.”
The RFBAQ represents the 34,000 unpaid volunteer fire-fighters in Queensland who protect 93% of the state. The RFBAQ is a charity that has provided over $1 million of grant funding to purchase essential fire fighting equipment to Brigades, and through its network of district representatives, who are elected from the ranks of volunteer firefighters, the Association is able to state that they are the ‘voice of the volunteer’.
In addition to this vital representation, the RFBAQ actively raises money through the sale of tickets from its Art Union, so that volunteer fire brigades in need of support are able to receive vital fire fighting equipment, buildings and training. This allows those volunteers to spend more time protecting their community instead of ‘rattling the bucket’ to raise money to put fuel in their fire-engines.