Local News

First Responders Locked Out of Bushfire Review

CFS_firefighters_grassfire_by_Emmanuellives_at_English_Wikipedia.jpg

Divisions are deepening between SA’s Emergency Services Minister and the State’s SES and CFS volunteers.

Both volunteer associations have criticised Corey Wingard for not acting in their best interest and denying them an opportunity to help frame a bushfire review.

Last week the SES Volunteers Association wrote to the Minister for Emergency Services criticising SAFECOM’s analysis of South Australia’s Fire and Emergency Services, which is set to inform the future direction of the whole sector.

In that letter, the chair of the SESVA, Warren Hicks, said: "The Government and Chief Executive of SAFECOM have lost considerable credibility and the bullying attitude surfacing within SAFECOM must cease. We are concerned that the new CE is not acting in the best interests of volunteers or even some paid personnel."

There have been claims that recent appointments to key roles in the emergency services sector have been pushed through without adequate regard for the views of organisations who represent firefighters and first responders on the ground.

Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Lee Odenwalde said that firefighters should be heard with respect.

"These allegations regarding the lack of communication, consultation and most alarmingly of a 'bullying attitude' need to be taken very seriously," Mr Odenwalde said.

"Both the CFS and SES volunteer associations have been denied a voice in the future direction of the sector, and in the framing of the Review. This at a time where the views of these front line responders are integral to the outcome of this review."

Photo of CFS firefighters grassfire by Emmanuellives at English Wikipedia