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Jones Inquiry (2011)

Hon David Jones addressing the VFBV Open Forum in 2011 Hon David Jones addressing the VFBV Open Forum in 2011

Updated: 11 August 2015

The Independent Inquiry into Effect of Arrangements on Country Fire Authority Volunteers, led by retired County Court Judge, the Honourable David Jones, was launched in 2011.

VFBV successfully called for the Inquiry to conduct sessions in regional areas and lodged a detailed submission on behalf of volunteers.

Our key messages were that;

  • the volunteer-based service model is vital for Victoria;
  • CFA’s integrated approach must continue;
  • the community needs to be educated about the professionalism, capacity and performance of volunteers;
  • the right CFA culture, leadership and human resource management arrangements are key;
  • there must be acceptance that volunteers are the CFA and must be genuinely engaged in decision making; and
  • VFBV’s role must be respected and supported.

Shortly before reporting to the State Government, Judge Jones told volunteers at the VFBV Open Forum that his report focused on positive moves to maintain the long term sustainability of the current model of CFA. He said VFBV, as the volunteers’ association, is of fundamental importance to that sustainability.

Released not long afterwards, the Jones Inquiry’s report pointed to the need for a step change in the leadership approach and culture of CFA, much greater transparency in decision making and consultation with volunteers – key ingredients for a more effective volunteer-based fire and emergency service.

VFBV called for a clear implementation plan for the required improvements, and wanted to be involved in the development and monitoring of its progress.

The independent Inquiry’s findings validated the major concerns that volunteers had raised repeatedly over recent years.

The report called for more easily accessible training for CFA volunteers, proper transparency in CFA’s decision making, genuine consultation and full utilisation of qualified, experienced volunteers, from the front line to instructors and specialist roles and the top level incident management roles.

It also called for recognition of the training and experience of volunteers when they apply for employment as full time firefighters or staff with CFA, and for the removal of barriers to administrative support to volunteer brigades.

CFA published its Jones Inquiry implementation plan in December 2012, but through the following year VFBV expressed concerns about slow progress, and in December 2013 CFA commissioned an internal review, which led to a revision of the March 2014 progress report and eventually CFA’s project management structure, to ensure better attention to the actions.

See below to download a copy of the Jones Report.

VFBV submitted a range of documents to the Jones Inquiry, including our submissions to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, click here to see those documents.


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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.


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