April 30 is the deadline for submitting recommendations to DFES on the new legislation that will govern the operation of emergency services, including bush fire brigades.
At a presentation in Margaret River Wednesday night, April 3, DFES managers stressed they are currently working from a “blank slate” and are looking for submissions from associations, brigades and individual members on what should be included in the new legislation to replace the three existing emergency acts. One of these, the Bush Fires Act of 1954, sets out the structure and operations of bush fire brigades. The act is available here.
The submissions will feed into the process of drafting the new legislation. The next step will be the development of a draft options paper which will be circulated for further comment. The final legislation is not expected until 2015.
DFES is interested in comments relating to anything relating to brigade operations. This could range from what powers are needed to carry out our work, to the well being of volunteers, to building protection zones.
Specifically they would like the submissions to provide the context in which issues arise; a description of the issue or challenge; and a comment, suggestion or solution. They would also like to see any positive parts of the existing legislation be highlighted.
There are forms available on the DFES volunteer portal here. For more background information and instructions on how to email your comments go here on our website.