UFUSA State Council Elections

Nominee Biographies

President

Jason Draper

With over 20 years dedicated to the fire service in diverse capacities, I feel I bring a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to improving our practices and support structures.

Having previously worked in the mining sector (engineering fields), I have always held a strong affiliation with unions. Including a role on the state executive for the Australian Workers Union.

I’m a current UFUSA Shop Steward and Station Officer at Oakden Station, I am also a Fire Investigator and am currently working as part of the FCI team. My Fire and Rescue expertise spans a broad range, including, Peer, BA Instructor, Respond to Urban Interface Instructor, USAR Instructor, CFS Captain, and Australasian Road Crash Rescue Team Leader to name a few. These (and other roles) have allowed me to positively contribute to the safety and proficiency of crews when attending incidents.

I am proud of my involvement in Regional Operations, where I spent 4 years managing the Mount Gambier Fire Station. While there, I successfully negotiated with MFS management and government officials to recruit additional firefighters and to implement a new shift working model (4 on 4 off), significantly enhancing work-life balance for the Station 70 firefighters.

My work as a Junior Fire Lighter Intervention Program practitioner reflects my dedication to community outreach and preventative education, steering young individuals away from dangerous fire lighting practices. I have over the years been handed some challenging cases but am proud to boast a low recidivism rate.

With this diverse background, I am fully committed to advocating for and advancing the interests of our union members, ensuring safety, support, and progressive development in our fire service. I am eager to bring my expertise, leadership, and passion to the role of Union President.

Ben Whitlock

For the past three years it has been an honour and a privilege to represent you and all members of the United Firefighters Union on the Executive Committee and as your Treasurer. 

This experience and the satisfaction of advocating for your rights has led me to nominate for the position of President.
As well as my respected can-do attitude, I have developed a wealth of experience in representing the UFU in negotiations with management and the State Government to secure favourable contracts for members, including wages, benefits and working conditions.

I have proven experience in union meetings, facilitating discussions and ensuring that decisions are made democratically.

I have advocated for policies and legislation that support the interests of the union and provided leadership and support for union members during strikes and disputes, including strategy planning, communication, and negotiation.
I also have experience in public relations, enhancing the image of the union, through media and communications.

If elected to be your new President I look forward to working with the new Minister for Emergency Services as well as our new Chief and all related stakeholders.
Working together, not against each other, is absolutely critical, particularly for the upcoming Enterprise Bargaining agreement.

I have complete confidence in the State Council, Secretary and the staff of the UFU and, I look forward to fulfilling the outcomes that our members deserve.

Committee of Management – Officers

44-year-old Station Officer with 18 years of emergency service experience, currently living in Colonel Light Gardens with my fiancée and our lively two boys, aged 6 and 8.

I’ve been union member throughout my 12 years with the MFS and 6 years with SAPOL. I’ve served at Adelaide, Glen Osmond and Communications, previously holding the shop steward position and Glen Osmond.

I’m proud of my assertiveness, never shying away from the tough conversations to ensure fairness, equity, and proper process. The MFS is undergoing significant changes, including new leadership, intensified recruitment and extensive workplace reviews. I believe it’s vital that we use the current and welcome attitude towards consultation to collaborate and implement changes that are positive and meaningful.

My priorities include enhancing workplace safety, improving/maintaining wages and conditions, ensuring policy/procedures are developed/followed and holding leadership and government accountable when required. I firmly believe our union’s strength lies in its members, and I’m dedicated to representing their voices effectively.

With your support, I’m eager to take on a state council role within the union, working tirelessly to deliver positive outcomes for all.
Thank you,

Andrew French

I have nominated as a union committee member for the next upcoming term. I believe it is an important role, which can represent and empower our union members with a voice at the table of negotiations. Our organisation is currently in a transition to a new strategic direction, which has put the MFS leadership team under greater pressure to do more with less. This includes being under the financial microscope.

I believe as a collective body; we need be united and strong in the pursuit of securing improvements in pay and other conditions. This core function is what paying union members expect of a governing union body and goes back to the fundamental framework of why union bodies were initially formed.

Our union has a strong history of securing workers rights and financial security, but there is a lot more for us to fight for. Some of these issues include, having representation at the next enterprise bargaining, continuing to improve safety for all firefighters and having strong legislative systems around our processes and conditions. Thank you, Andrew French

Chris Johnson

While my time in this role was short, I was proud to represent our membership. None more so than being part of the introduction of the second shift at Mt Gambier station.

I have been involved with the Union for nearly 25 years – Firstly and always as a member, then taking on the role of shop steward for over 10 years. Further to this I have been involved with multiple Enterprise Bargaining negotiations.

I’m nominating for State Council because I see the benefits of being involved in the Union and networking and being a conduit for important information sharing on topics such as PFAS, Diesel particulates and Presumptive legislation.

 Professional history

  • Retained MFS Firefighter – Berri station
  • Air Force Firefighter
  • Firefighter with Transfield/Broadspectrum/Ventia
  • Station Officer at Edinburgh – 2021

 

Thank you for your consideration. Given the opportunity, I look forward to working together within State council to make our Union and our fire services the best they can be.

Recruit firefighter in drill squad 6/84 I have nearly forty years in the job. Time in service gives me an intimate knowledge of the MFS, its working and corporate history. 

Presently I am the “B” Shift Officer at O’Halloran Hill, I was transferred to “B” Shift in 2002 after promotion from Sub-Station Officer. Prior to 2002 I was a firefighter and “Subby” on “D” Shift HQ.

Having been first elected in 2008 I have been a member of State Council 13 of the last 16 years.

I represent the membership on the:

• MFS WHS committee

• PFAS Consultative Committee

• MFS PPE and Uniform committee and

• SA Metropolitan Fire Service Superannuation Scheme as a Trustee

Nationally I am the WHS Coordinator for the UFU of Australia, representing the UFU of Australia on Australian Standards Committee SF-049 Firefighters Personal protective equipment, SF-053 Protective Clothing and SF-003 Occupational Footwear.

I also represent SF-049 at ISO/TC 94/SC 14 Firefighters’ Personal Protective Equipment and ISO TC94 WG2 Head Protection.

I am seeking your endorsement and vote to continue serving the membership of the UFU of SA on State Council. 

Since joining the SAMFS in 2004 I’ve worked in Operations, Commcen, Training Department, Regionally and served 9 years as a Shop Steward. When reflecting on this time I feel grateful for the friendships it has allowed me to develop and for the opportunities to work with some amazing people. It has also galvanised my thinking on the importance our Union has played in bettering the work lives of its membership historically and more importantly into the future.

If elected to the Union State Council my tenure will be dedicated to serving the interests of all members, strengthening the Union, upholding democratic principles, and improving member’s pay and conditions. Those who have worked with me can hopefully attest to my integrity, communication skills, collaborative style, and empathy and I believe a vote for me is a vote for someone who will have a positive impact on the union and its’ membership.

I have had a 30-year career with the SAMFS and a few years in what was Country Command (now Regional Operations) as a Retained firefighter.

During my career, I spent many years as the Glen Osmond Shop Steward and a couple of years as the Mt Gambier Shop Steward. I have always been keen to be involved in the UFU, both as an elected rep and as a member.

2 years ago, I was elected to State Council. As a State Councilor I have been the UFU Rep on the Training Advisory Committee and as the proxy for the Vehicle and Equipment Committee. As opportunities have arisen, I have pushed Regional issues and perspective but am aware that the issues that affect all of us need to be priorities and resolved.

I will continue to be available directly to members and to raise issues and concerns where necessary at a State Council level. 

Committee of Management – Firefighters

I am a 57 year old Senior Firefighter with 30 years experience. I am currently an elected State Council member since 2021 as Firefighter representative on the Committee of Management,  Committee member and now Secretary of the SAMFS Golf Club and have run the D Shift Social Club for over 10 years.

I joined the Committee to ensure fair representation for all workers and aim to bring transparency, accountability and inclusivity to the council and SAMFS.

With the Enterprise Bargaining process fast approaching it is important to have elected members familiar with the State Council and UFU processes to represent you and I seek your support for re-election to continue the commitment to improve conditions and empower firefighting ranks.

I was in Squad 58/2021 and have been a B Shift firefighter since then. After being a reliever for 2 years, I updated my preference to Adelaide Station and spend almost all my time there. I am now commencing a secondment to OTR Central for the next 18 months. 

I am very proud to be a firefighter, a member of the MFS community, and a member of the union. I am passionate about supporting the members through any concerns or grievances as well as striving to improve our organisation. 

Being 25 years old, I believe I can be a valuable addition to the UFUSA by offering some different viewpoints and speaking for the younger firefighters and recent drill squads. I feel that I have insight into what could be considered as the traditional culture of the MFS as well as an appreciation of the frustrations experienced by new firefighters. 

Thank you for your consideration and I hope you give me the opportunity to represent you.

As a proud firefighter from Murray Bridge Station, I have renominated to continue to represent firefighters on our Union’s State Council.
 
I’m seeking your support in the ballot because I’m passionate about ensuring a fair deal for firefighters; I want to continue to be part of a committed team focused on building a better fire service now and into the future for the benefit of all. 
 
As Industrial Officer and State Councillor for our Union, I combine my legal qualification and my education and experience in the health industry, with my role as a retained firefighter, in order to work towards better working conditions for all firefighters.
 
I am proud to be part of a strong and united Union and a community focussed service. 
 
I have a particularly strong interest in:
 
  • Firefighter health including prevention of illness and injuries (physical and psychological) and high quality, timely treatment and support for those injured by their work. 
  • Appropriate training and resourcing to do our jobs safely and to a high standard.
  • Closing the gap between retained and metro firefighter’s training and conditions.
  • Suitable compensation and conditions for the job we perform including correct, timely and understandable payslips being received.

I am a Senior Firefighter with 37 years of experience in the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS), predominantly at northern command stations and currently stationed at Gawler Station. Throughout my career, I have served on the State Council for over 15 years, some of the responsibilities whilst on State Council have included Strategic Capability Committee, and vehicle and equipment committee.

I am committed to maintaining open lines of communication, understanding that while consensus may not always be possible, respectful dialogue and problem-solving are essential. I am always available to discuss any matters related to my role on the State Council and how I can continue to support firefighters.

Senior Firefighter, ‘D’ Shift Gawler.

I’ve nominated for ‘Committee of Management – Firefighters’ for the oncoming State Council Election.

I’ve worked alongside of many of you in Regional and Metropolitan Operations, but with a rapidly changing workplace renewal taking place currently, I believed it would be a good opportunity to introduce myself to maybe many new UFUSA members that I haven’t met.

I’m 48 years old, have a great partner and 3 kids, and live up in Nairne in the Adelaide Hills.

I’ve recently attained 31 years of service for the S.A. Metropolitan Fire Service, commencing early 1993 as an ‘Auxiliary Firefighter’ at Mount Gambier and changing in 2006 to a Career Firefighter.

I remained working in Mount Gambier until 2010, when I changed to working as a Reliever on ‘D’ shift Metropolitan Operations until 2014, going back to Mount Gambier until 2019, and finally returning to ‘D’ shift Metropolitan Operations as a Reliever, and now permanent at Gawler for the last few years.

As a Career Firefighter, I’ve been an UFUSA Shop Steward/Health Safety Representative for the workgroups at Mount Gambier, Adelaide Relievers and Gawler, and always have assisted UFUSA members in these workgroups to the best of my abilities, with many matters often bought to my attention in serious need of UFUSA intervention to resolve.

Notably, I was involved in discussions with key community members in Mount Gambier, and with assistance from the UFUSA, we achieved firstly Career Staffing commencing in 2006, and then implementation of the second shift in 2018.

My principles for a strong UFUSA and being an effective State Councillor, are and not limited to

  • good open communication and consultation with the membership and SAMFS management.
  • Strive for the best pay and conditions for our hardworking membership, including fair access to overtime.
  • Upholding a high level of Health, Safety and Welfare, so our members go home to their families in good physical and mental condition.
  • Maintaining and improving ‘hard fought for’ conditions of our award and agreements.
United Fire Fighters Union Of South Australia - UFUSA

Install PWA

Install PWA on Iphone using Safari only. Tap on the "Share" icon, scroll up to see "Actions." If "Actions" is not displayed, scroll all the way up, and select "Edit Actions." Choose "Add to Home Screen," then Done.