NEWS

DEFINING THE QFRS OF THE FUTURE

In support of SOU Objective 7: To participate in the development of strategic and organisational change, the views of SOU members are sought in respect to the following list of questions. What are your views?

What might a QFRS of the future look like? What role should the service take in better serving Queensland communities? What aspects (cultural and otherwise) should QFRS keep, and what needs to go? What things need to be done differently, to ensure Queensland fire and rescue service delivery stays relevant and future focused? 

To access the forum click here.

1. MEETING WITH DIRECTOR GENERAL KELVIN ANDERSON AND 2. ONGOING VIEWS REGARDING THE SINGLE FIRE SERVICE MODEL

Meeting with Director General Kelvin Anderson - 2 November 2011

In support of developing an ongoing and functioning business relationship, the SOU met with the new Director General Kelvin Anderson on 2 November 2011.  Discussion items covered during the meeting were:

> The recently released Rural and Remote allowance policy.  The SOU acknowledged that although the new policy had improved matters to a degree, the SOU believed that further improvements would be required to address the root cause of the challenges and issues affecting staff in rual and remote areas.   

The SOU also reaffirmed our position on matters previously raised with the Government, these being: 

> The unresolved wage disparity between the ranks of Station Officer and Inspector.  This issue (previously and formally acknowledged by the QFRS) remains a very important issue for the SOU, given its negative impact on individuals and indeed the organisation.

> The need for the Government to reconsider the non-provision of Superintendent level Zone Commander positions in 3 regions (FNR, NR and SWR); which now sees Inspectors in these locations reporting directly to a Chief Superintendent – a situation which is not ideal for a number of reasons.  These 3 positions (although identified through the Senior Officers Review) were not supported in the initial DG approved implementation plan.

In summary the DG acknowledged all points as raised by the SOU and stated that he looked forward to taking a practical approach in his or the Department's approach to industrial issues involving the SOU.

QFRS as a single intergrated fire and rescue service.

Recently - other industrial bodies and representative associations have continued to place on record their views as to the splitting of the QFRS into separate urban and rural fire and rescue services.  The SOU now re-iterates our position as clearly articulated in a letter available here.  SOU members would be aware that Minister Neil Roberts, in previously responding to our position clearly stated that the Government would in no way support such a separation on the basis of significant negative impact.  The SOU will provide our position to the state opposition in a meeting currently being organised.      

Thank you

Andrew Short AFSM
SOU State Secretary 

SOU POSITION ON STATION OFFICER TIM BATSON MATTER

SOU members are advised that the following communication was provided to the UFU earlier today.

Thank you

SOU State Secretary 

To the State Secretary UFUQ

The SOU has been watching with interest the recent events surrounding the dismissal on medical grounds of S/O Tim Batson. As we do not have the full details of the situation it is difficult for us to form a definitive position on this particular case.  However, based on the limited information we do have the SOU has concerns regarding the overall management of medical conditions by the QFRS and the impact on the integrity of the Disclosure of Medical Conditions policy and potentially the broader Fit for Duty program.

We support the UFU in testing this case to ensure that all firefighters are given every opportunity to return to work in light of the best available medical and scientific information and not based on rigid or a 'risk averse' approach to medical conditions.  We will be providing this position to all SOU Branch Counsellors today.

SOU Executive

Also note that a Discussion Forum is now active on this matter.  Click here to view the Forum.

ELECTION OF NEW QFR-SOU STATE COUNCIL (2015-2018)

It is a pleasure to advise that the QFR-SOU triennial election process has now progressed to the point where we can announce successful candidates to date.

Two remaining processes are underway, the first being a ballot for Brisbane Branch Councillor (given that more than one nomination was received), and the second being a supplementary nomination process for North Coast Branch Councillor election (given no nominations were initially received).  

So that members can be aware of the make up of the new State Council commencing 1 February 2015, the Executive would like to advise that the following State Council members will be taking office as of 1 February 2015.

SOU State Council (2015-2018)

Kevin Walsh AFSM - State President
Steve Smith AFSM - State Vice President
Bevan Moore - State Secretary
Dave Hermann - State Treasurer
Gavin Holden - Far Northern Branch Councillor
Michael O'Neal - Northern Branch Councillor
Colin May - Central Branch Councillor
Brad Commens - South Eastern Branch Councillor
Lindsay Hackett - South Western Branch Councillor
Greg Reynolds - State Office Branch Councillor

On behalf of the current SOU Executive, thank you to these members for remaining in - or stepping up into these important SOU leadership roles, particularly as we continue to improve QFRS senior officer conditions and well-being in accordance with our QFR-SOU objectives.  The Executive also recognises and appreciates the notable contributions made by outgoing Councillors Paul Evans, Jeff Keating, Ray Bott, Rob O'Connor, and Bob Orchard.

When the election arrangements for Brisbane and North Coast Branches are finalised, these details will also be announced.  

It is the intention of the current SOU President John Cawcutt AFSM to provide (in due course) a statement in respect to the activities and achievements of the outgoing State Council.

Thank you

Andrew Short AFSM
SOU State Secretary

PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR SOU - NOMINATE FOR AN OFFICER POSITION NOW!

SOU members are advised that in accordance with QFR-SOU Rules, general elections will occur during October/November 2011. These elections are being managed by the Electoral Commission Queensland on behalf of the SOU. Please consider what contribution you can make to your union by nominating for an officer position, using the form provided to you by the ECQ. Nominations close noon 30 September.