Bulletin No:          051                                     Volume:  20                        Thursday 6 March 2014








This week the UFU provided the CFA with an independent economic analysis which calculates the massive productivity lift required of CFA firefighters over the next three years.

Professor David Hayward from the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University says Victoria is currently experiencing a population boom, unprecedented since the 1960s, and predominantly in CFA areas.  

He also describes the “x-factor” for firefighters – a productivity lift due to the combined effect of climate change and State government mismanagement – that he conservatively estimates at 2% per year.

In addition to the standard government pay rise of 2.5% per year due to CPI, Professor Hayward’s independent analysis shows a further 7.2% productivity lift required of the CFA over the next 3-4 years.

This is comprised of 2% for extra homes to be protected, 1.7% for extra people to be protected, 1.5% for extra commercial properties to be protected, and 2% for the “x-factor”.

Based on his estimate of increased productivity over the period 2014-2017 he has calculated that CFA firefighters should get a pay increase of 9.5-9.7% each year over this period.

Professor Hayward’s calculation of the increased productivity required of CFA firefighters highlights the failure of the Napthine Government to match fire resources to the rapid growth in population and property requiring protection.

The Napthine Government has frozen recruiting and training. Despite the lessons of Black Saturday, the State is now stretched to the limit by recent fires, including Hazelwood. Victorian firefighters are working up to 22 hours a day while the State is paying for crews from interstate.

Professor Hayward has calculated the cost of this mismanagement, and the massive extra workload that will fall on current CFA staff. His data has been incorporated into the wage claim lodged this week with the CFA.

The CFA is under strain from factors including the Napthine Government’s refusal to recruit and train new firefighters, such as the extra 342 CFA firefighters promised four years ago; the impact of major fires; climate change; and the personal cost on firefighters due to PTSD and above-average cancer rates due to occupational exposure.

There is also the recent Auditor-General’s report into the CFA’s mismanagement of volunteer firefighters, and the fact that the CFA doesn’t even know how many firefighters it needs.

The CFA calculations as to firefighters increased productivity over the next 3 years equates to CPI (2.5%) each year of the agreement and an additional 1% in the first year of a four year agreement.

The next bargaining meeting between the UFU and CFA is set for March the 11th to be followed by a further FWC hearing on the 26th of March.

If you have any queries please contact the UFU office on 9419 8811.


Strength in Unity


Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary