IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ALL CFS VOLUNTEERS
The CFSVA is disappointed by the recent articles that have appeared in the media relating to the CFS Disciplinary process.
Since July 2020, the CFSVA has been raising your concerns in relation to the disciplinary policy with the CFS Executive, inclusive of past and current Ministers. The association has been clear that the CFS disciplinary process is failing volunteers, and whilst the attention is on those under investigation, the process fails others impacted by these unnecessarily protracted investigations.
As you will note, the correspondence to then Chief Officer Mark Jones clearly articulates concerns raised by our members. Included are matters such as but not limited to, notice of suspension pending an investigation, the lack of information about the allegations being made, and excessive timelines for resolution.
Chief Officer Jones committed the agency to improving the disciplinary process as outlined in his February 2021 newsletter and refers to recommendations provided by the SA Ombudsman for improvement around managing complaints of harassment. Again, the CFSVA is not aware of any changes in this space.
In September 2023, the CFSVA Bulletin highlighted the lack of action from CFS in addressing such a review of the Regulation 21 process, how it commences swiftly, lacks substantiating evidence, and even lacks the actual allegation. It also noted that volunteers can experience lengthy periods of time with no additional information or follow up.
The CFSVA has been consistent in that the current policy needs to change as these matters impact the lives of all parties involved.
In the name of justice and fairness, the CFSVA continues to call for an immediate review of the CFS Disciplinary policy, inclusive of a volunteer impact statement.
Included for your reference:
click title to view
- CFSVA Letter to Chief Officer Mark Jones 1st of July 2020
- Chief Officers Newsletter February 2021
- Extract from CFSVA Bulletin September 2023
Once again, the focus has shifted from the truly remarkable work you as CFS volunteers do each day to serve and defend South Australians. At this time of the year your only focus should be in preparing for the forthcoming fire season, which we know will be a difficult one.
As volunteers ourselves, the CFSVA is very cognisant of the preparations both mentally and physically necessary in the lead up to fire season and is disappointed that this matter has been dragged through the court of public opinion to gain attention.
Sonia St Alban Jeff Clark
Executive Director State President
David Lindner Frank Regan
Acting State Vice President State Deputy Vice President