Rural Fire Service review terms of reference finalised
Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey has released the Terms of Reference for the review into the Rural Fire Service (RFS) in Queensland.
Mr Dempsey announced the review last month and said it would provide volunteers with the opportunity to have input into the future structure, function, leadership and funding of the RFS.
“A Review Team, Chaired by the Member for Mirani Ted Malone, will hold a series of meetings across the state to gather important information towards providing advice to me on the future of the RFS,” Mr Dempsey said.
The purpose of the review is to make recommendations for rural fire services in Queensland that bring greater autonomy for rural fire brigades, greater efficiency within the Rural Fire Service and less red tape, while limiting risks for staff and the community.
The review will involve investigating and providing options regarding the functions, structure, leadership and funding of the Rural Fire Service.
The review Chair will make recommendations on:
The appropriateness of the current functions of the Rural Fire Service;
A structure that provides leadership and service focused support to frontline firefighters while reducing unnecessary reporting, bureaucracy and red tape;
A support structure that recognises the different needs, training requirements and autonomy levels of the various classes of brigade;
The place of the Rural Fire Service within fire services more generally;
Ways to boost frontline resources by identifying areas and roles where efficiencies can be made;
Ways to support brigades in their management of risk, in areas such as fire prevention and land management;
Alternative means of funding rural fire services;
Ways to increase empowerment of rural fire brigades and personnel at the local level;
Ways to improve cooperation at a local level between the rural fire services and the State Emergency Service including the role of Emergency Service Units; and
Other relevant matters.
It is critical that the review ensures that a high degree of cooperation between urban and rural fire services is maintained and that risk management remains paramount.
No adjustments to the rural operations structure will take place until after the fire season (March 2013).
The implications and risks of proposed options are to be fully assessed.
The review will take account of the reports of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry and arrangements in other jurisdictions for rural fire and other emergency service organisations.
The review will not impede the leadership and management functions of the Director-General, Department of Community Safety or Commissioner, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service whilst the review is in progress. Any interim decisions by these officers regarding the operation of rural fire services over the fire season will be addressed, where necessary, in the final recommendations.
The critical focus of the review will be:
- Delivering improved outcomes in the areas identified in the scope of the review (above); and
- Meeting the contemporary objectives of government and expectations of the broader community.
The review will be chaired by the Member for Mirani, Ted Malone.
Governance arrangements will include:
A Steering Committee, chaired by Minister Dempsey, with membership to include:
Minister Dempsey’s Chief of Staff;
Director-General, Department of Community Safety;
Commissioner, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service;
A/Deputy Director-General, Corporate Service;
Representative of the Department of Premier and Cabinet; and
Representative of Queensland Treasury.
A Review Team, chaired by Mr Malone and comprised of:
Neil Gallant, Assistant Commissioner, Rural Operations;
Bryan Cifuentes, Area Director, Rural Operations, Cairns Peninsula District;
Andrew Houley, Biodiversity Manager, Reef Catchments;
Mike Garrahy, Rural Fire Brigades Association, Queensland; and
Troy Davies, Senior Project Officer, Department of Community Safety.
Fire and Rescue Service Act 1990
Fire and Rescue Service Regulation 2011
Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry, Interim Report, http://www.floodcommission.qld.gov.au/publications/interim-report
Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry, Final Report,
Management of Rural Fire Services in Queensland, Report No. 11 of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland Public Accounts and Public Works Committee, June 2011
Submissions to the Public Accounts and Public Works Committee
Auditor-General for Queensland Report to Parliament No 3 for 2008: Management of Rural Fire Services in Queensland: A Performance Management Systems Audit
Progress Report on the Auditor-General for Queensland Report to Parliament No 3 for 2008, Management of Rural Fire Services in Queensland
Timeframe and Reporting
The review will commence from 2 October 2012, with final recommendations by 28 February 2013.
Progress reports will be provided to the Steering Committee at the end of October 2012 and each month thereafter until final recommendations are made.