Bulletin No: 033                                Volume: 24                            Tuesday 6 March 2018                                        

To: All UFU Members



As members would have seen, today both major newspapers in Victoria printed misleading and inaccurate reports regarding career firefighters and your terms and conditions of employment.

 The UFU has no doubt that this is simply part of the ongoing attack on career firefighters to lower your standing in the community and seek to vilify you.

 While we are all well aware of the hard work, dedication and commitment of firefighters to the protection of the Victorian community, today both Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino also publicly came to the defence of Victoria’s career firefighters.

 Premier Daniel Andrews recognised the risk firefighters take every day in their work stating:

 “After all, they leave their families to run toward the danger to keep my family and every Victorian family safe. I just make no apology for that.”


Minister Merlino added:

 “These are brave men and women who put their lives on the line to save property and lives. Now, I tell you what, if you’re in a burning home and you’ve got a firefighter bashing through the door to save you and your children, do you think you care what they’re paid?”


The UFU commends the Premier and Minister for their recognition of the dangerous work career firefighters undertake every day in their job in protection of community and their public defence of your work.


Please note, we understand that the ongoing misleading media seeking to vilify the UFU and its members has had considerable impact on the well-being and mental health of our members. We wish to take this opportunity to remind you of the support services available to members if you are experiencing any level of distress or mental health impacts.


Both the MFB and the CFA have support services which members are encouraged to access.  The contact details are as follows:

• For MFB personnel there is 24-hour access to a dedicated counselling service with psychologists by calling 1800 451 138 or 1300 366 789.  If you call this service you can have immediate access to a psychologist via telephone or alternatively make an appointment.  This service is also available for family members.

• Additionally, for MFB personnel there is an extensive peer support programme where a clinician can be accessed by calling 9665 4405 or 0407 665 174 or the Peer Coordinator on 0417 538 289 or 9665 4516.

• CFA members can access Critical Incident Stress Peer Support by calling either the CFA Chaplain Service on 1800 337 068 or the CFA Member Assistance Program 1300 795 711.

We encourage you to use the above services provided by the MFB and CFA, but if you feel uncomfortable in doing so there are external support services which all can access.

Services available to all:

On the beyondblue website https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ the following support services are listed that are external to the CFA and MFB and that are available to all.

The website has comprehensive information that deals with a range of mental health awareness and the support and help that is available.

The numbers for these services are as follows:

• Lifeline 13 11 14

• Suicide Call Back Services  1300 659 467

• beyondblue Support Service 1300 22 4636

UFU Welfare Officer

The UFU has an internal and expanded welfare service for current and retired members, using a highly qualified person, Ross Fusca, whose integrity is beyond reproach. We encourage all members to use this welfare service.

Ross has been appointed as the UFU’s Welfare Officer. He can provide assistance to members based on his wealth of expertise.

Ross comes to us with thirty years’ experience in law enforcement with the Australian Federal Police, attaining the substantive rank of Detective Sergeant. Within this role, he held the position of Welfare Officer (Victoria and Tasmania), encompassing portfolios including Return to Work Coordinator, Equal Opportunities Officer, Sexual Harassment Contact Officer, Aboriginal Liaison Officer and Regional Mediator.

Over this time, Ross successfully contributed to a safer and more equitable workplace, with a number of his recommendations adopted by AFP management.

Ross will also have at his disposal the ability to refer UFU members to independent external services if required.

Ross can be contacted by members confidentially at: ufuwelfareofficer@gmail.com or 0477 884 456.

 Strength in Unity

Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary