Only half CFA’s volunteers are active: Commission told

Only half CFA’s volunteers are active: Commission told

27 November 2009

published by

Australia– The Royal Commission investigating the Black Saturday bushfires has been told Victoria’s Country Fire Authority (CFA) has failed to tap into its volunteer capacity.

The Commission has heard only half of the CFA’s 60,000 volunteers are active.

Allan Monti from the Volunteer Fire Brigades Association has told the inquiry only one in 6,000 volunteers are qualified to work as incident controllers on the most severe fires.

Mr Monti suggests the numbers are low because of a failure by the CFA to provide flexible and volunteer-focussed training.

He says the organisation’s training methods are based on a “chalk and talk” mode of instruction set in the eighties rather than embracing the techniques of adult learning.

Mr Monti says there is also not enough opportunity for volunteers to attend training with many courses only available during business hours.

Underground powerlines

Meanwhile, the Commission has heard that moves to place powerlines underground in bushfire-prone areas have previously been rejected by the Victorian regulator because they cost too much.

The Commission heard the power distribution company, Powercor had previously proposed putting powerlines underground in areas at high risk of bushfire.

Research showed broad community support for the move and indicated people were willing to pay more for their power to get underground cabling.

Former SP AusNet manager, Paul Adams said that company had suggested underground powerlines in the Dandenongs, but the Essential Services Commission rejected the idea because it was too expensive.

Mr Adams said he thought putting powerlines underground was worth investigating but tended to be prohibitively expensive.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien