Bulletin No:          246                    Volume:  21                        Tuesday 15 December 2015



The United Firefighters Union is again calling on Victorian Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett to release the Fire Services Review commissioned by the government in July this year.


United Firefighters Union secretary, Peter Marshall, said: “The Minister has been sitting on a report for nearly two months which identifies critical issues regarding the management, culture, resourcing and operations of Victoria’s fire services.


“The continued delay is unacceptable as inherently the report could contain foreseeable action that needs to be taken to ensure that there is no danger to firefighter health and safety and the general public, as well as maximise the correction of the significant problems that have plagued fire services historically.


“It is extremely disappointing that Minister Garrett has discussed aspects of the review with journalists and has set up a Ministerial Working Group to consider the review outcomes – but is still refusing to release the report publicly.”

Further, Minister Garrett has implied that there is a culture of workplace bullying and lack of gender diversity.

The UFU has been contacted by a number of female members who have expressed their disappointment with Minister Garrett’s comments around this issue, as it does not reflect an understanding of what the fire service team culture is in reality.

Please find the following letter that was sent to Minister Garrett by one of our firefighters, and has been provided to both the Herald Sun and the Age newspapers in response to Minister Garrett’s attempts to misrepresent their workplace.

Minister Garrett,

In response to your appearance at a CFA recruit graduation regarding the percentages of female fire fighters, I would like to make you aware of a few facts.

1.      Female fire fighters seek to be fire fighters, no more and no less than any other fire fighter; male or female. Every time we are segregated and singled out, be it for good or bad publicity we are seen as a separate entity and even though intentions may be ‘good’, it does not help us when we are singled out just because we are female. By all means, please feel free to congratulate and encourage us for being good at our jobs, comradeship, leadership and several other qualities.

2.      As mentioned by the fire fighters at the graduation, have you in fact asked any female fire fighters about their experience in the brigade? I have been in this job for 8 years and I can tell you that in that time when I talk about my job to female friends and acquaintances, there is an overwhelming response of shock that I would want to go to work each day to put my life on the line to protect the community. It is just not for everyone, female or male.

3.      The female fire fighters are also fighting with our Union for the reasonable negotiation of our Enterprise Bargaining Agreement. We like all of our comrades are only looking to keep our conditions to be able to go home to our families safe and be able to pay our mortgages. The morale around the stations is at rock bottom with you and Mr Andrews muddying the opinion of our profession to the public. Our friends and families are asking us strange questions and we are feeling unappreciated considering the thankless work we undertake every day. On top of that we have had 2 comrades take their own lives in the space of 3 days and it has hit every single fire fighter.
In short, Minister Garrett, all we want is for you to honour your word so we can have one less stress in our lives and get on with preparing for the busy fire season ahead.

We are only fire fighters but we are worth more than the mud you are dragging our names through.

Emily Trimble
Leading Fire Fighter, MFB  

If you require any further information contact Peter Marshall on 0419 127 004.

Strength in Unity


Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary