(L-R): NSW SES Commissioner Adam Dent, 2014 SES Cadet of the Year Kodie Hardy, Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott,
2014 NSW RFS Cadet of the Year Timothy Pedley and NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM.
NSW Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott understands the pride, sense of achievement and camaraderie that comes with being an emergency service worker.
As someone who has worked in various combat agencies, Mr Elliott is committed to providing more recognition of our emergency workers - many of whom are volunteers who regularly put their lives on the line without thought of payment or personal safety.
Mr Elliott was appointed to Cabinet after NSW Premier Mike Baird separated the previously combined portfolio of Police and Emergency Services.
During his first weeks in the new portfolio, Mr Elliott toured the storm-ravaged communities of the Hunter and Central Coast where NSW RFS volunteers turned out in fearsome weather to lend a hand.
Earlier this month, Mr Elliott also met the 2014 NSW RFS Cadet of the Year Timothy Pedley - a promising young leader from Colo High School who is promoting the values of hard work and community service. “I know RFS members don’t volunteer for praise or reward, but I would like to take the opportunity to express my admiration and appreciation for our volunteers and their outstanding service to their local communities,” Mr Elliott said.
Mr Elliott was born in Bankstown in Sydney’s west and attended the Christian Community High School, before completing a Bachelor of Arts (History and Asian Studies) and later a Master of Arts (Communications).
He worked for former federal MPs Bronwyn Bishop and John Howard before starting work in the NSW Police media unit in 1993 and two years later was commissioned into the Army. He then joined the staff of then NSW Opposition Leader Peter Collins before becoming the national campaign director for Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy and also serving with peacekeeping forces in Bougainville.
On his return to Australia, Mr Elliott joined the Australian Hotels Association and served as the NSW Deputy Chief Executive until January 2008. He was then the Chief Executive Officer of the Civil Contractors Federation (NSW) until his election to Parliament as the Member for Baulkham Hills in March 2011.
Mr Elliott said NSW communities need to be confident they can rely on the emergency services to protect and assist them during bush fires and other emergencies.
“As I recently told communities across the Hunter, we can replace roads, houses and food but we cannot replace people. So one lesson we take away from those storms is that mitigation is very important,” he said.
“I have great confidence in our State’s capacity to respond to and to recover from disasters and I look forward to meeting many more of you during my time as Minister and being your strong advocate inside the NSW Cabinet.”
In my column to Members I delight in sharing with you the latest news from the Association and how our programs can assist you in your work to protect the community. The RFSA is a proud advocate for all our Members. It is a role undertaken by the Association with diligence, professionalism and an unwavering commitment to representing our Members.
As the two-year tenure of the current Board comes to a close, it is the perfect time to reflect on the achievements and progress made over this time.
The Association has grown in many ways, most notably in Registered Membership. From the period June 2013 to June 2015 we have welcomed over 12,000 new Registered Members. With a Registered Membership now exceeding 36,500 Members, this increase serves to reinforce the RFSA as the authoritative voice of the volunteers and staff of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS). It demonstrates our Members have confidence in our organisational structure and our ability to channel grass roots knowledge to both the NSW RFS and the Government in order for it to be considered and successfully implemented.
In my time as President I have been fortunate to attend many events proudly sponsored by the RFSA. These have included the NSW RFS State Championships, the Australian Fire Cadet Championships, Regional Exercises, Field Days, the Community Engagement and Fire Awareness Conference and the NSW RFS Leadership and Young Members Forums, just to name a few. We will continue to provide sponsorship for these and similar events, for the personal and professional development of our Members.
I have also witnessed the expansion of our support for fire fighters during declared emergencies. It was clear the Association needed to provide tangible support for fire fighters during critical fire situations and in response to the fires in the Blue Mountains in late 2013, we implemented our Section 44 support to provide fresh t-shirts, coffee and meal options for those at the fire ground (when feasible).
The Association has worked to engage and consult with our Members on an even wider scale. The NSW RFSA Shop and Membership Services have travelled across the state attending even more events, field days and forums to give our Members the opportunity to talk one on one to Association representatives and learn more about our avenues of support.
Finally, with the Board elections in June, I wish our retiring Board Directors all the best and thank them for their service. I feel sure that all of the newly elected Board Directors that will be invested and announced on June 20 will bring with them some wonderful ideas for the continued growth and success of the Association.
Paul and Rosemary Seary were recognised with Certificates of Appreciation for their work as dual secretaries of the Upper Lachlan RFSA Branch
in Division 7.
Paul and Rosemary chose not to stand for re-election after serving five years in the position.
We thank them for their work and dedication and wish them all the best for the future.
The Byron Bay Blues Festival is Australia’s premier blues and roots festival and fans from around the country converge on the camp grounds at Tyagarah to relax and enjoy the music.
It was 2010 when the festival moved to their purpose built site and organisers first asked the Mullumbimby Brigade if they would like to provide 24 hour fire cover for the event site and the camp grounds. Brigade members jumped at the offer and have now been providing fire cover for the past six years.
For the Brigade it is a mammoth event to organise. Although held in March, Brigade Captain Mark Ross and his wife RFSA Division 1 Chairperson Leah Ross, start preparation for the event in the preceding November. Letters are sent to nearby Brigades seeking assistance on vehicles and members from the catering group plan menus. Rosters are written, tankers are organised and transport arranged to and from the event for crews.
Logistics is a major part of the organisation. Planning includes Operational Orders for use in the Blues Festival event manual and meeting on site with organisers before the event to ensure all sites are in place and requirements are met. A crew brief is also prepared for each shift. The festival runs for five days and over 22,000 patrons attend the event daily with 7,500 camping on site.
The Brigade supplies four vehicles which are located around the event. OCV1 is used as a Comms vehicle and shifts are rotated so that members are able to have a look around at the event and catch a glimpse of the bands. Thankfully, this year the crew attended only one incident that occurred on the last night in the camp grounds.
The event is great for crew morale with members from different Brigades rostered together and enjoying the opportunity for a chat, play the odd game of cards or cricket, and listen to the sound of the blues.
The crew from NSW RFS Heritage assisted with the ‘CanCruise’ charity race.
The event raises funds for Can Assist -Cancer Assistance Network & Cudgegong Cruisers.
NSW RFS Heritage trucks driving for ‘Can Cruise’. Over $13,000 was raised
for charity by more than 200 participating vehicles.
Gerringong RFB member Chris Luke proudly playing the bugle for the 2015
ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Gerringong.
Gerringong RFB Captain Greg Ball laying a wreath during the 2015 ANZAC
Day Ceremony. The Brigade provided chairs, generators, lighting and
assisted with traffic control for the Dawn Service.
(L-R) Owen Richardson, Nick Conolly, Matt Walker, Jayden Nicholls,
Bradley Laws and Hayden Metcalf were presented with iPads for their winning
idea in the ‘Pitch It Up’ competition at the NSW RFS Young Members Forum.
The forum was proudly sponsored by the RFSA.
The Hills Boat Wiskey (foreground) & Milsons Passage (left) approaching
a ferry fire during an exercise at the NSW RFS Fire Boat Exercise. The
RFSA was proud to once again sponsor the event.
First Aid skills were put to the test during competition at the NSW RFS Fire
Boat Exercise at Fisherman’s Point.
Keeping warm with coffees at the RFSA Volunteers’ Family Day in Holbrook.
A giant game of snakes and ladders kept everyone on their toes at the
Holbrook Volunteers’ Family Day. The game features key messages from
the Bush Fire Survival Plan andthe opportunity to discuss these messages
with other players.
Jillian Guest and Greg Sim attended the NSW RFS Leadership Forum in Dubbo
in May, an event proudly sponsored by the RFSA.
Smiles from the ladies at one of the NSW RFS exhibition stands at the NSW
RFS Leadership Forum.
What started out as a cool, dark, misty morning turned into a stunning, sunny and glorious day for those lucky enough to be a part of the NSW RFS Fire Boat Exercise.
Proudly sponsored by the RFSA, the event was held on Saturday 7th March 2015 at Fisherman’s Point on the Hawkesbury River.
With over 170 people in attendance, 150 participants from Hornsby/Ku-ring-gai, Gosford, Warringah/Pittwater Districts, Cumberland Zone, as well as NSW Maritime, NSW Water Police, and Marine Rescue, the event was already looking like a big hit for all involved; especially with a piping hot breakfast served on arrival. The event is the largest fireboat exercise in the Southern Hemisphere.
On the day, each boat crew participated in five different events; Ferry Fire, Marina Fire,Pump Staging, Sinking Vesseland First Aid and Ladder/Rescue. The events, each running on a tight schedule to ensure nobody missed out, were staged against the stunning backdrop of blue skies, radio chatter and giant jellyfish.
Coordinated and organised by Berowra Waters RFB, competing teams were judged by senior fire fighters from multiple District/Team/Zones and Brigades. The day was a success, and managed visits by not one, but two Commissioners, unprecedented in the event’s history!
NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM and Marine Rescue Commissioner Stacey Tannos ESM avidly watched on as the boat crews executed their drills with precision, passion and just a little flair for the dramatic. Also in attendance was RFSA Director Jane Hollier to cheer on the competitors.
After everyone had given their all, a well deserved lunch was served back on dry land while the results were tallied.
3rd place – Berowra Waters ‘Charlie’ crewed by cadets and two seniors. It was a fantastic effort from the team, beating out many of the senior crews to take the bronze.
2nd place – Wiseman’s Ferry with a great effort and attitude through all events to claim the silver.
1st place – Berowra Waters ‘Alpha’, taking the top honours for the second year in a row. A big thanks to all who helped make the day such a great success, from the organisers to the judges and logistics teams, the volunteers, the venue hosts, and the members of all the Brigades and other departments who competed on the day.
We are now at the half- way mark for 2015 and it has been a busy and productive six months for the Association. It was fantastic to see over 550 applications submitted to share in the $1.7 million available for NSW RFSA Grant Scheme 2015. Advice will be sent by 31 July 2015 so you will know if you application was successful after this date.
As part of our commitment to providing the best possible programs and initiatives for our Members we will very shortly be undertaking a review of our ‘giving programs’. ‘Giving programs’ include the grant scheme, scholarships, sponsorships and Volunteers’ Family Days. Reviewing these programs allows us to evaluate how they can be of best benefit to our Members and we can make sure funds are distributed among these programs in the most effective manner.
Association President Tim Arnott and Directors Chris Powell AFSM, Alan Holley and David Hoadley AFSM attended a special service in May at the NSW RFS Headquarters to commemorate St Florian’s Day. Events such as this are always a sobering experience as we are reminded of the sacrifice our Members make in service to the community. It also serves to reinforce how important it is for the Association to foster and support the incredible work you do and we will continue to work and build a strong and sustainable organisation for our Members.
In light of this, I would like to take this opportunity to re-iterate the words of President Tim Arnott. The RFSA is unequivocally committed to support and represent our Members in a professional, dedicated and dignified manner that achieves results. We have proven structures in place to ensure all Members have an outlet to express their views and to escalate these views through the most appropriate channels.
In the coming months I intend to meet with the NSW RFS District Managers about how the Association can best address any concerns they may have, as well as discuss with them how we can work together to best assist the volunteers in each District/Team/Zone.
Finally, I would like to thank our Directors as their two-year tenure comes to an end. Their work behind the scenes is invaluable and special thanks must go to those who have chosen not to stand for re-election: Alan Holley, David Hoadley AFSM, Jane Hollier and Brian McKinlay AFSM OAM. The significant contributions made by each Director over the years has been vital to the growth and success of the Association and I wish them, and their families, the very best as they embark on this new chapter.
Whether you’re renovating, purchasing your first home or making an investment, an interest rate discount can make a lot more possible. And, thanks to the partnership between AMP Bank and Member Advantage you could now be entitled to an interest rate discount of up to 1.20% pa1 off the standard variable rate2.
They’ll also eliminate their Annual Package Fee and the Establishment Fee3 just as long as your loan is worth 90% or less of the property.
So get on top of your mortgage and make your dream home a reality by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
1 To qualify for the 1.20% pa discount you must be a current association member applying for a new AMP Bank Affinity Package home loan from $500,000. Discount of up to 1.00% pa is available on new Affinity Package home loans only from $250,000 to $499,999. Discount of up to 0.85% pa is available on new Affinity Package home loans only from $100,000 to $249,999. The benefits, including the discount, are not available when switching from an existing AMP Bank loan.
2 The Standard Variable Rate is the Classic Variable Rate Loan and Line of Credit.
Fees and charges are payable. Terms and Conditions available on request. Approval is subject to
AMP Bank guidelines. The credit provider and product issuer is AMP Bank Limited ABN 15 081 596 009, Australian credit licence 234517, AFSL No. 234517.
The RFSA is proud to co-host the 2015 Australian Fire Cadet Championships in partnership with the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Established in 2007, the Championships provide a safe and enjoyable opportunity for cadet fire fighters to compete, develop their skills and interact with other cadets from across the country.
Cadets are between twelve and sixteen years of age and since the inaugural competition, teams from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and New Zealand have all participated in the event.
Cadets have the opportunity to socialise, exchange ideas and make friends, as well as demonstrate and hone their fire fighting skills.
The 2015 competition will be held at the Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Camp near Lake Macquarie from 28 September to 1 October.
The Association would like to thank the following Directors who have decided not to seek re-election to the Board for the 2015-2017 term.
They are: Alan Holley, Brian McKinlay AFSM OAM, David Hoadley AFSM and Jane Hollier.
Over the years they have worked tirelessly to represent RFSA Members and advocate and promote Members’ best interests. Their experience, knowledge and expertise will be missed and we wish them and their families the very best for the future.
Allan Holley David Hoadley
Brian McKinlay Jane Hollier
Division 4 Chair Person, Steve Robinson
Division 4, located in the middle of the New South Wales eastern seaboard, is the most populous of the RFSA Divisions, with over two million residents.
Encompassing the greater Sydney region, the Division stretches from Wollondilly (Southern Highlands) in the south, to Gosford in the north and west to the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury.
It is home to 263 Brigades and Support Brigades as well as the NSW RFS Headquarters at Lidcombe and the RFSA Office at Penrith.
The area has a very diverse geography and flora and fauna. Bushland is the predominant vegetation with some grassland.
Economically, it is as diverse as its geography. From heavy industry to administration, the Division is home to banking, tourism and farming sectors as well as being the home of the NSW State Government.
The coastline features some of the best and most beautiful beaches in Australia while the inland showcases world class nature and tourist attractions. On 29 November 2000, the Greater Blue Mountains Area was unanimously listed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO, becoming only the fourth area in New South Wales to be listed.
Average rainfall for the area in 2014 was 1211.7 mm (Sydney area) and the average temperature was 21.7°C.
The Division has four Delegates on the NSW RFS/ NSW RFSA Consultative Committees including one on Membership Services, two on Operational Services and one on Infrastructure Services. The Division also has a ‘floating Delegate’ to fill in when any Member cannot attend. Two Members volunteer on the RFSA Constitutional ReviewGroup and one Member is on the Audit, Finance and Governance Committee.
The Division meets quarterly and this meeting is usually held two weeks prior to the RFSA State Council. Registered RFSA Membership for the Division was 9,180 as of April 2015. Meetings are usually conducted on a Saturday at one of the many Fire Control Centres within the Division.
The Division is very active on social media and Members can go to the Facebook page (Divison4 RFSA) to find out the latest news and events as well as the dates and times of upcoming meetings.
Steve Robinson - 0418 913 488
John Fitzgerald - 0413 883 757
Suite 11, 69 York Road
PO Box 845