Volunteer firefighters kept away from active duty following City of Greater Geraldton training mandate

Michael RobertsGeraldton Guardian
Training mandates for volunteer brigades have been implemented in response to new safety legislation.
Camera IconTraining mandates for volunteer brigades have been implemented in response to new safety legislation. Credit: Supplied /DFES

A “number” of volunteer firefighters are yet to complete new training requirements mandated by the City of Greater Geraldton, meaning they can’t battle a bushfire.

CGG sent a letter to volunteers in November telling them they would have to attend a Department of Fire Emergency Services rural fire awareness course before returning to active duty.

The training requirements have been mandated in response to changes to the Work Health and Safety Act, which the City expects to take effect from March.

“The City has a number of bushfire volunteers who have not undertaken bushfire training — and currently have associate membership status,” acting CEO Paul Radalj said.

“Bushfire volunteers who have associate membership status can provide assistance at a bushfire incident, but cannot actively engage in firefighting activities.

“If an associate member wishes to become a firefighting member, they can undertake the required bushfire training.”

Back in November, City officials acknowledged the timing of the mandate would be challenging for its volunteers, given the majority were farmers busy harvesting a record grain crop.

Mr Radalj said the City wasn’t aware of any volunteers who had openly refused to take on the new training requirements.

“The City is providing two bushfire training courses in January 2022, to supplement the DFES bushfire training schedule,” he said.

“This provides an additional opportunity for associate members to undertake the required training to attain firefighting status.”

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails