Kerry Murphy is the Chairman of the CFA Board and has held the position since his appointment on 1 April 2007. A longstanding firefighter, Kerry became a CFA member in 1974 when he joined Mount Macedon Fire Brigade as a volunteer. Throughout his association with the brigade, Kerry has held the positions of Captain, Lieutenant, Group Officer, Firefighter and Deputy Group Officer.
These discussion threads show that diversity is not just about women, as it was perhaps viewed 20 years ago. Diversity is about the young, the not-so-young; people living with disability and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
We welcome Fran Boyd as Executive Director People and Culture and David Spokes as Executive Director Performance and Strategy. Mark Sullivan, the new Executive Director Communities and Communication, has more than 25 years' experience in the NSW police force and the Rural Fire Service.
The Chernovs had their own Black Saturday experience in the Yarra Valley area and were greatly complimentary about the local brigades' efforts.
The Board acknowledges the workload of brigades in support of the State Emergency Service. Once again, the emergency services have been the lifeblood of their communities and we thank you for your outstanding work.
Also at the February meeting, Regional Manager Greg Esnouf and his team presented the North West Metropolitan Region's growth strategy. In this region alone the population is expected to grow by almost 240,000 people in the next 10 years; good, forward-looking strategies like this will address challenges to our service delivery.
I'd like to assure members that a recent WorkSafe inspection carried out on the site, along with our own, have not indicated any concerns with current practices at Fiskville.
Chief Officer Euan Ferguson reported to the Board that grassland curing is nearly 100 per cent in the northwest of the State and well advanced in the west, north and north central. CFA messaging and readiness/response strategies have been modified.
Community messaging, operational briefings and strategic planning are being influenced by this forecast. An example is the deployment of a secure medium tactical helicopter and a fixed wing aircraft to the Mallee for the first time, to help mitigate the fire risk during harvesting.
Reaffirming who we are and what we do unites us and helps focus our energies as preparations for the next fire season pick up pace. Final positions on community safety policies for the 2011-2012 fire season were progressed at a multi-agency work shop in July. Plans are in place for multi-agency pre fire season briefings to take place from September.
Loddon Mallee Regional Manager Pat O'Brien hosted a dinner for Board members, the Chief Officer and CFA members representing a range of brigades from across the region. It was an opportunity for those members to pose forthright questions about immediate needs, channels for assistance and other matters of concern to them.
The achievements of members were also considered by the Board in relation to criteria for the National Medal. This award requires "diligent service". This is defined in the National Medal Regulations 1999 as: "a person has served an organisation diligently if, in the opinion of the Chief Officer a) the service given by the person has been conscientious and of good standard and b) in the performance of the service, the person showed good conduct as a member of the organisation."
In recognition of CFA members who provided outstanding service to Victorian communities during the fires of 2009, a call for nominations for bravery awards is being sent out to CFA members this month. The call will be made via a letter co-signed by the Chief Officer and myself, included in the latest edition of Brigade Magazine. We encourage those who know a CFA member deserving of this recognition to put forward a nomination.
At its February meeting the Board encouraged the Chief Officer to review the role of Groups. The review is a significant one for CFA as it could lead to a more central role for Groups in the chain of command.
PPC is the most important piece of equipment that operational fire fighters possess. In line with the board's commitment, Chief Officer Euan Ferguson will audit structural PPC and identify any shortfalls in items like gloves, boots and helmets; and budget, and then report back to the Board.