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18 Nov 2021

This inaugural annual report provides an assessment of the first eight months of implementation progress of Victoria’s fire services reforms (15 October – 30 June 2021).

This report focused on 36 of the 54 Year One Fire Services Reform Implementation Plan (Year One Plan) actions fundamental to the reform’s success. The status of the 54 actions from the Year One Plan are as follows: 

  • 6 are complete
  • 23 are progressing and on track
  • 15 are progressing and experiencing minor delays
  • 8 are progressing and experiencing significant delays
  • 2 have not yet commenced.

These actions were categorised and assessed under three themes: 

  1. Agency capacity and capability under the new model

    CFA and FRV must align their organisational roles and responsibilities to the principle of interoperability. The Year One assessment considers CFA’s and FRV’s progress establishing agreements and work arrangements to embed the new model.
  2. Collaboration between CFA and FRV

    Ongoing collaboration between the CFA and FRV is paramount to the success of the reform. The Year One assessment considered CFA’s, FRV’s and EMV’s governance arrangements and extent of collaboration in the first year of reform.
  3. Workplace culture and diversity

    The long-term success of the reform requires that CFA and FRV are modern, inclusive, and reflect the communities they serve. The Year One assessment considered CFA’s, FRV’s and EMV’s developments in organisational diversity and inclusion policy, gender diversity targets and complaints management.  

Implementing the reform is a complex and challenging task. It is clear that CFA and FRV are committed to reform implementation and have collaborated to progress key elements of the reform. However significant and challenging programs of work remain to embed the new fire services model.

The Fire Service Implementation Monitor acknowledges CFA, FRV and EMV, and other emergency service entities for the significant cooperation and active contribution to monitoring and reporting activities in this first year. 


ACFO Assistant Chief Fire Officer
AFAC Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council
APS Alternative Power Systems
BAIC Building Codes, Audits, Inspections and Compliance Services
BCPA Baseline Capability Profiling Application
BOSP Brigade Operational Skills Profiles
CAoV The Country Area of Victoria
CBP Connected Brigade Project
CEO CFA Chief Executive Officer
CFA Country Fire Authority
CO CFA Chief Officer
Co-located stations For the purposes of this report, co-located stations refer to those stations which were formerly CFA career and integrated stations
COVID-19 Coronavirus
CMS Content Management System internet and intranet refresh
CRM Customer Relationship Management System
DCO Deputy Chief Officer
District ACFO District Assistant Chief Fire Officer
DJCS Department of Justice and Community Safety. DJCS is nominated as the lead agency for actions within the Year One Plan
EA Enterprise Agreement
EMC Emergency Management Commissioner
EMV Emergency Management Victoria, a statutory entity of the DJCS. EMV is the representative for DJCS regarding the Year One Plan actions
ESTA Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority
FDRP Fire District Review Panel
FRB Firefighters Registration Board
FR Commissioner Fire Rescue Commissioner
FRV Fire Rescue Victoria
FRV District FRV response area
FSIM Fire Services Implementation Monitor
FSOC Fire Services Operational Committee
FSR Steering Committee Fire Services Reform Steering Committee
FSR Taskforce Fire Services Reform Taskforce
FWC  Fair Work Commission
FY  Financial year
GARS  Greater Alarm Response System
HAZMAT  Hazardous materials
IGEM  Inspector-General for Emergency Management
IPs  Interoperability procedures
ICT  Information communications technology
IT  Information technology
JoA  Joint Operational Activities
LVFR  Low voltage fuse removal
MFB  Metropolitan Fire Brigade
MoU Memorandum of Understanding
OH&S  Occupational health and safety
OOSA Overarching Operational Services Agreement
PAD  Practice Areas for Drills
PPC  Personal protective clothing
PTA  Professional, technical and administrative
SLDA  Service Level Deeds of Agreement
SWH  Safe working at heights
Tenancy Agreement The Lease and Licensing Agreement for the 33 co-located stations
The CFA Act The Country Fire Authority Act 1958
The FRV Act The Fire Rescue Victoria Act 1958
The Implementation Plan Fire Services Implementation Plan(s) under the FRV Act
The Minister The Minister for Emergency Services
The P350 program The 350 Firefighter Program
The Statement The 2017 Fire Services Statement
UFU Victoria United Firefighters Union of Australia – Victoria Branch
VFBV  Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria
VSP  Volunteer Support Program
WRP  Wildfire respiratory protection
Year One Plan Year One Fire Services Reform Implementation Plan (2020 to 2021)
Year Two to Five Plan Year Two to Five Implementation Plan



My first annual report as the Fire Services Implementation Monitor assesses the initial eight months of fire services reforms in Victoria. These first eight months have been spent understanding the structure of the reforms and the significant and varied work agencies have undertaken. This report provides a snapshot of key progress, issues and opportunities across the Fire Services Reform Year One Implementation Plan activities in the period 15 October 2020 to 30 June 2021 and identifies further areas for action or review.

Impacts of 2020-21

Implementing the Fire Services reform in 2020 was always going to be a challenge. COVID-19 restrictions, the demands of back-to-back and concurrent emergencies, and various
inquiries and Royal Commissions have placed substantial demands on Country Fire Authority (CFA), and Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV). It is a testament to Victoria’s career and volunteer firefighters and support staff that effective fire services were maintained across Victoria while implementing the new model.


It is clear that the transition to the new model is well underway, and I commend CFA, FRV and Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) for the work to date. Many Year One Plan actions have taken longer to deliver than expected due to their breadth and complexity, resourcing challenges and competing CFA and FRV priorities. Despite this, CFA and FRV continue to work together to deliver their important reform work.

There is more work to do

Over the coming year I hope to see CFA and FRV finalise their outstanding foundational agreements, complete their planned reviews and transition from interim arrangements to firmly established business processes. This will allow staff and volunteers to feel more confident in their roles and functions and set the foundations for successful, modernised fire services across Victoria.

My three focus areas

Capacity and capability

To reduce the risk of systemic operational issues, CFA, FRV and EMV need to embed effective project planning, agreed consultation processes and finalise outstanding agreements. They need to fill vacancies that impact service delivery, clarify roles and duties, and resolve delegation issues. Developing and communicating a robust governance framework with a clear issues resolution process will aid progress on these issues.


CFA and FRV need to agree on and communicate the complementary fire services operational approach to service delivery. I am pleased to see the leadership of both organisations collaborating well and, over the next year, I will look at how this commitment to collaboration has extended to different levels of both organisations.

Culture and workplace safety

Workplace culture and a lack of diversity are critical challenges faced by CFA and FRV and a safe workplace is crucial to reform success. Both organisations are committed to culture change, gender, and diversity and have updated how they manage complaints. CFA and FRV are actively working to improve their data on organisational workforce diversity and inclusion as part of their progress in this area.

And finally…

My thanks to CFA, FRV and EMV for their commitment to working through the complex issues and collaboration in driving reform. Thanks also to key stakeholders whose communications, responsiveness and workshops have helped me and my team better understand the achievements and challenges of our first year. I particularly want to acknowledge the skills and dedication of the career and volunteer firefighters whose outstanding level of service delivery continues to save lives and communities.


Hon. Niall Blair
Fire Services Implementation Monitor

Executive Summary

This inaugural annual report provides the Fire Services Implementation Monitor (FSIM)’s assessment of the first eight months of the implementation progress of Victoria’s fire services reforms. The report covers the period 15 October 2020 to 30 June 2021.

The report focuses on delivery against actions in The Year One Fire Services Reform Implementation Plan (the Year One Plan), released by the then Minister for Police and Emergency Services on 15 October 2020. The Year One Plan outlines the foundational arrangements required to establish the new fire services model.

This report does not capture the full first year of progress defined in the Year One Plan (October 2020–October 2021). FSIM recognises that substantial activity will have been undertaken since the end of the reporting period, however a summary of activity to 30 June 2021 provides government and the community with a progress snapshot and outlines early issues and opportunities.

As outlined in the Year One Plan, on 1 July 2020 Victoria’s new fire services arrangements commenced with CFA re-established as a volunteer firefighting agency. The Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (the CFA Act) recognises CFA as a fully volunteer firefighting service under the command and control of the CFA Chief Officer (CO), enshrining the critical role of volunteers in CFA.

The Fire Rescue Victoria Act 1958 (the FRV Act) commenced on 1 July 2020, establishing FRV as a new organisation. FRV brings together all former Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) career firefighters and staff with former CFA career firefighters and support staff. FRV serves metropolitan and greater Melbourne and major regional centres and supports volunteer response where required.

The FRV Act also established three independent bodies to provide oversight of the reform including the Fire District Review Panel (FDRP), FSIM, and Firefighter Registration Board (FRB).

To support the implementation of the reform, the Victorian Government committed $246.2 million over five financial years (FY 2020–21 to FY 2024–25). This included $126 million for CFA and volunteers for new training programs, personal protective clothing, new appliances and stations, and brigade supports.

The Year One Plan set out the transactional requirements to operationalise the legislated amendments and provided a pathway for the transfer of relevant CFA’s assets, liabilities, and employees from CFA to FRV.

FSIM’s year one assessment focused on the foundational and transactional actions required to embed and operationalise the vision for modern, complementary, and sustainable fire services that keep Victorians safe. The assessment is based on three themes: agency capacity and capability under the new model, collaboration, and workplace culture and diversity.

FSIM assessed the progress and effectiveness of Year One Plan actions and provided advice, where relevant, on the extent to which the actions are delivering on the reform objectives. In preparing the report, FSIM engaged with CFA, FRV, EMV, and FDRP to obtain a detailed understanding of progress made against Year One Plan actions. FSIM met with stakeholders across the emergency services and monitoring agencies to better understand the landscape of the fire services reform implementation.

The appointment of FSIM and the supporting office midway through the 2020-21 financial year, and the constraints on engagement activities due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, have limited the scope of FSIM’s review for this first report.