Dave Morton, RFBAQ Bundaberg Rep is Retiring

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As the Bundaberg Area Representative of the Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland Inc (RFBAQ) since October 2017, I have witnessed an incredible amount of change when it comes to the Rural Fire Service volunteer experience.  I have tried to improve this experience, although with some uncertainty in the air as we move towards the new Queensland Fire Department, I am not sure yet how much has really been achieved.  Time will tell, and we all know that there is always room for improvement.

But it’s also the little things that can make a huge difference.  When I started my RFS volunteer ‘career’ back in 2012, one of the first things I noticed, was how inconsistent the volunteer experience can be.  The experience of our volunteers can vary greatly across brigades in the support they receive, the equipment they have access to, and how their brigade functions.  I remember a First Officer once explained to me that after his brigade had responded about 16 times in the year, virtually all of the fire levy received by that brigade for that year would have been expended, leaving that brigade destitute for the remainder of the year.

Once in the role of Area Rep I focused on supporting Bundaberg area’s brigades, so their volunteers would have the little things that can help make their experience better.  Things like chainsaws and protective clothing to operate them safely, blowers, utility trailers, air conditioners, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras, water tanks, computers, shed improvements and fit-outs, storage lockers, furniture, and hardship grants.  In total I have supported 62 grant applications totalling over $140,000.00 plus many RFBAQ Buy Local Grants.

I also supported larger projects.  One led to several brigades throughout Queensland being equipped with their own Toyota Landcruiser light attack appliance – vehicles that scored highly as being ‘fit for purpose’.  Another led to two brigades being given heavy attack appliances.  Another saw us work with the Fire Service to roll out hundreds of tablets to brigades.

That’s the tangible stuff, but there are intangible things like supporting volunteers through the difficult transition to the Blue Card, the impact of which is still being felt by some.  Or relationship-building where volunteers needed it.  Or introducing people so that a very important study on volunteering could be carried out.  Or just talking to volunteers when they needed to talk.  Or just helping volunteers when they did not know where to go for help.

All of this was my attempt to improve the volunteer experience, often during difficult times like the fire seasons of 2018/19, 2019/20, and 2023/24, and most recently during trying times such as the move towards the QFD.

While I have chosen to step back from all this, it opens up my personal challenge to that one volunteer out there who will pick up the gauntlet that I have just thrown down,  and continue making improvements where they are needed.

After all, without the RFS volunteer in the past, the present, or the future, there’d be no Rural Fire Service.

Dave Morton

Retiring RFBAQ Bundaberg Representative

I would like to thank Dave for his 100% commitment and passion to supporting and advocating for brigades and brigade members not just in the Bundaberg Area, but as a former member of the Management Committee, for his advocacy for brigades across the state.

Dave and Billie’s selfless commitment to their community through their volunteering has been inspiring and I wish them both well on the opening of the next chapter in their lives.

Nominations for the RFBAQ Bundaberg Representative position will be mailed to brigade secretaries by the 17th June. For brigade support please contact either RFBAQ President Ian Pike AFSM or myself.

Justin Choveaux

Returning Officer.

Nomination and Election Process for Bundaberg District Representative

Posting Nomination forms to Brigades by Monday 17th June 2024

Nomination Forms to be received by Returning Officer (6 weeks) by Monday 29th July 2024

Nominations Collated (1 week) Monday 5th August 2024


Where single nominations only received from a District

(i)            Candidate declared elect for that District (2 weeks) by 19th August 2024

(ii)           Notify Candidate/s (1 week) by 16th August 2024

(iii)          Notify Brigades by 16th August 2024


Where more than one nomination is received in any District

Ballot Papers posted to Brigades (2 weeks) by 19th August 2024

Closing date for receipt of Ballot Papers by Returning Officer (6 weeks) by 30th September 2024

Ballot Papers opened and counted (1 week) by 7th October 2024

Poll Declared Candidate Notified (1 week) by 14th October 2024

Brigades Notified of Result (2 weeks) by 28th October 2024

Audit of Election, Election Material Destroyed  Subsequent Management Committee Meeting

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