A message from the Emergency Management Commissioner about Fire Services Reform

21 June 2019

Last night the Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2019 passed through the Upper House and will become legislation in Victoria.

This has been a key piece of legislation for the State Government and has also been a priority for EMV and our sector.

This legislation gives us a real opportunity to modernise our fire services in Victoria, to streamline systems and processes, ensure consistency in training and in practice and crucially, provide presumptive rights for firefighters.

Although there is further work to be done, presumptive rights means that firefighters will be supported for the work they have done and continue to do in serving the community.

This means that firefighters claiming compensation will no longer have to prove that firefighting is the cause of 12 types of cancer. Instead, there is a presumption the cancer was a result of firefighting and therefore they will have an entitlement to compensation.

The establishment of Fire Rescue Victoria is key element of this reform. It also provides an opportunity for CFA to grow as a community-based volunteer organisation. Volunteers in Victoria have a long and proud history of serving the community and this reform enhances and strengthens that role.

It provides an opportunity to be modern and progressive, and to continue working towards a more unified sector, truly working as one.

EMV will play a role in leading the implementation and we have a taskforce dedicated to looking at the detail around the transition.

There is a lot of work that still needs to be done in order to implement change prior to the 2020-21 fire season.

Everyone in our sector has a role to play in working together to get the best outcome for the Victorian community and to keep Victorians safe.

It’s time to provide Victoria with a strong future direction in emergency management. It is time for change.

Our focus is and remains on the community we serve and putting our people first.

Summer is only a few months away and we all need to remain focused and prepared.

Continue doing all that you do to keep communities safe.

Take care, 

Andrew