UFUSA Emergency Services Thank you

The Minister for Police and Emergency Services the Hon Joe Szakacs invited us to attend the inaugural thank you to emergency services personnel on Saturday, 10 June 2023 at the Adelaide Oval for the AFL round 13 match of the Adelaide Crows vs West Coast Eagles. 

Not normally a football fan, I felt privileged to attend, representing our union together with Matt, Gideon and Hamish, to hear our members and our union recognised for our work in emergency services, together with the other agencies. 

It was particularly exciting to see our crews around the Oval grounds as well as the work of the Professional Firefighters Foundation, so I’ve included a few pictures for you to share. Thank you again to you all for the wonderful work you do in keeping our community safe. 


Our meeting of the UFUSA State Council last week was another busy one with a wide range of subjects discussed and considered. All of your elected representatives dedicate a large amount of their personal time and energies to progressing matters in the interests of members and outlined below are some of the current matters being pursued. 

A key focus of our union is on members’ health and well-being and State Council was fortunate to receive an address from Shop Steward and WHS rep Michael Clark about the progress of work health and safety matters being addressed with the MFS through the WHS Committee. 

Members should be aware that our union continues to vigorously pursue the issue of diesel emissions with the government’s commitment to a pilot project of direct extraction. This is looking at not only matters of direct extraction but automatic doors, fan usage, door seals and the ongoing removal of PPE from the engine bays. While slow progress, it is anticipated that more information on this project will be available in the near future. Meantime, our UFU is also developing a submission to Safe Work Australia on workplace exposure standards where currently there is only a guideline; our recommendation is that the precautionary principle be applied due to the carcinogenic nature of diesel emissions. Not all members might be aware of the number of presumptive cancer claims our union lodges for members every year, however there can be no doubt that prevention is far better than you and your family suffering and enduring such an ordeal. 

Other matters discussed included respirators to replace dust masks as we will soon be the only fire service in Australia using a dust mask at bush and dump fires, post incident decontamination, turnaround times of gear, pin notices, helmets, pregnancy policy, and the fitting and selection of boots. 

State Council discussed our proposed business plan and budget for the coming financial year, and the work being performed on our union building. Difficulties are being experienced in our union obtaining the MFS asset plan so this matter may need to be taken up with the Minister once again, in order to ensure that the government election commitments made, are all kept. 

It was reported to State Council that the Ambulance Task Force continues to meet with good cooperation between the agencies, enhanced data clarification, collection and sharing, and development of training to be delivered by SAAS to our members (as contained in our last EA log of claims). This is to ensure that we are properly equipped to attend current Assist Ambulance calls as firefighters while being clear that we are not paramedics. 

Meanwhile the development of an independent review of the MFS promotions process is ongoing, greatly assisted by the involvement of the Commissioner for Public Employment. State Council also considered and provided support in principle to a proposal from the MFS to address the recommendations of the SA Employment Tribunal in relation to the appointment of Assistant Chief Fire Officers. A meeting of interested members will be called in the near future to discuss the proposal. 

A report was provided on the progress of the Engineering Department dispute involving matters such as apprenticeships, on-call rosters and training. There are a range of disputes in relation to members on workers compensation including the payment of the Day Shift allowance, and travel allowances with this matter scheduled to go back to the SA Employment Tribunal this week. 

State Councillors represent our members on a wide range of MFS Standing Committees such as Strategic Capability, WHS, PPE, TAC, Vehicle and Equipment, Fatigue Management, Recruitment Committee, DIAC and the Sector Advisory Committee and reports were provided in each of these areas invoking substantial discussion about the multitude of concerns arising. While too many to report in this WordBack, more information will be contained in the State Council minutes. 

Thank you as always to our State Councillors and also to all the crew members who attended the Union office for the State Council, it was good to see you and I hope it gave more insight into the work of your union. I’m now back on deck and I look forward to seeing you around the traps; so if you’d like a station visit to discuss any of the above or indeed any other issues of concern, please give me a call and I’ll be glad to book in your station for a visit. 

Meanwhile, take care and please stay safe. 

In solidarity 


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United Fire Fighters Union Of South Australia - UFUSA

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