Fireys ask for DFES move

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Rosa Brook Volunteer Bushfire Brigade receiving their new truck last year.
Camera IconRosa Brook Volunteer Bushfire Brigade receiving their new truck last year.

Another of the Shire’s volunteer bushfire brigades has signalled a wish to transfer to direct administration by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

A notice of motion was lodged by Cr Julia Meldrum at last week’s Shire of Augusta-Margaret River council meeting on behalf of the Rosa Brook Volunteer Bushfire Brigade.

If approved at next week’s meeting, Rosa Brook will join Wallcliffe Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade in requesting that DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm green-light the change, with Shire chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown to initiate contact.

Rosa Brook brigade captain Richard Moroney was unable to clarify the reasons for the motion because of a Shire ban on volunteers speaking to the media.

The Times understands the proposal is not intended as a criticism of the Shire.

District bushfire brigades face an increased administrative workload because of dual-registered status supporting the Shire, DFES, and the Department of Biodivers-ity, Conservation and Attractions.

In October last year, long-running talks for all Shire brigades to move to DFES ended when a vote held between all brigades fell one short of the mandated eight votes needed to kickstart the process.

The Times understands the Rosa Brook request could be the first of several, with some other brigades disappointed the seven affirmative votes were not considered.

In November, the council approved Wallcliffe’s request to open talks with DFES for the transfer.

A statement from the Wallcliffe brigade noted the proposed new structure would “allow for a streamlined call-out process (and) singular policies and procedures rather than the duplicated system that is in place”.

“The community are assured that there will be no decrease in brigade commitment to protect life or property ... and that our 80 volunteer members will be better protected and our community a safer place,” the brigade said.

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