The reforms would see the formation of a properly resourced, independent community based Rural Bush Fire Service separate from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. The new local fire service would aim to re-establish community capacity in fighting fires and enabling mitigation activities to be carried out.
The Rural Bush Fire Service would be staffed by experienced persons who are skilled in fire mitigation, community liaison and working with volunteers.
The group pushing for the reforms, believes the State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers should be managed by persons who are experts in emergency services and where possible management staff being recruited from within the ranks of SES volunteers.
The group is also calling for the Independent Office of Bushfire Risk Management to be moved within the State Emergency Management Committee secretariat and for the secretariat to answer to the Department of Premier and Cabinet, rather than the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.
Chief Bush Fire Control Officer Kim Gooding said, “ We don’t want to be forced into becoming ruled by a city centric DFES department. We want to fight our fires on our properties our way.”