The following statement is attributable to CFA chief executive Paul Smith:
The CFA's number one priority is the health and wellbeing of our people. The organisation does not tolerate any forms of bullying, harassment or discrimination in our workplace.
We have strict protocols in place to manage all complaints, to ensure they are treated with the utmost seriousness.
CFA has undertaken significant work across the organisation to create an appropriate culture and a safe and inclusive workplace. Among the major changes are the creation of an integrity unit and the overhaul of our complaints processes.
We have also established extensive wellbeing services for all CFA people and actively encourage staff and volunteers to contact this service for support 24/7.
Adhering to the CFA values is a critical expectation that every person in CFA must meet. Those who fail to align with our values must change their behaviour or leave.
Cann River Fire Brigade
In 2016, CFA undertook an investigation into allegations of bullying and harassment at the Cann Valley Fire Brigade. CFA’s findings were challenged and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) was contacted.
IBAC asked for an independent investigation to take place, which occurred in 2017. The independent investigator, Workwise, met with all parties and witnesses and concluded there was no substantiated claim of bullying and the claim had been dealt with appropriately. IBAC concurred in finding the result satisfactory and did not recommend further action. The investigation is now closed. However, CFA has serious concerns for the safety of staff and volunteers in the local community and we have contacted police in relation to recent threats which have been made to staff members. We understand these concerns are being investigated by Victoria Police. Two members of the Cann Valley Brigade were suspended in early 2018. Both the suspensions are subject to active investigations, which will be finalised as soon as possible.
Cann Valley Brigade, provides an essential service to the community, has been supported through these issues and is well prepared for the upcoming fire season. Both Cann Valley and neighbouring Mallacoota brigades have been equipped with all necessary resources for the coming fire season. CFA is always looking to improve its training program