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AFAC Annual Reports : 2011 Annual Report
Lee A Johnson AFSM MIFireE, Commissioner Queensland Fire and Rescue Service AFAC President As I reflect on the 2010/2011 financial year, I cannot remember in my 36 year career a more turbulent phase for emergency management in our region. I believe a major paradigm shift has occurred in our industry without many of us realising it. A significant factor in this shift was the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission, aided by societal changes including new media. The speed of change has accelerated, facilitated by innovation in technology. The perception and expectation of how emergency services should be or could be delivered, is now under enormous scrutiny from a diverse range of groups. The expectation that emergency services can protect the community from the forces of nature at all times is unrealistic and at best misguided. However, it should not be an unrealistic expectation that Commanders (Leaders) will provide timely warning and clear and concise instructions about what actions need to be taken, and in what time frame. For me this is the paradigm shift that has occurred. The challenge is how we meet and through better education, shape that community expectation, in the environment in which we now operate. A well positioned industry body such as AFAC will be critical in assisting us to identify where those changes are leading and how we need to respond. Since its inception AFAC has been a collective voice seeking to find the common ground and strengthen our sector through standard setting, professional development and knowledge sharing. It is a great frustration to me that inquiry after inquiry has found deficiencies in the area of interoperability, despite the enormous efforts to date in developing the AIIMS framework. The underpinning tool which connects all of us within emergency management is AIIMS. Currently AFAC is well engaged with ANZPAA (Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency) to seek greater alignment with law enforcement agencies in the use and understanding of AIIMS, and good progress has been made under the leadership of Commissioner Greg Mullins. One very important piece of work was launched by AFAC this year which strikes to the very heart of our capability as a sector. ‘The Fundamentals of Doctrine - a Best Practice Guide’ was published with little fanfare in March. Good doctrine can help align local actions with organisation policies and sustain continuous organisation learning and improvement. Put simply, it can strengthen the connection between what an organisation knows and what it teaches and does. I commend this publication to you. It is available to all members through the AFAC Knowledge Web. AFAC plays a large role in advocacy and influence on behalf of our sector and during the year made significant submissions to the inquiries regarding the floods in both Queensland and Victoria. AFAC Managers and senior people from the AFAC Member Agencies also contributed to the consultation process on a number of industry issues. AFAC’s work continues to ensure our voice is heard on more than 60 Standards Committees. This is critical. For me the growing perception that emergency response will save all, all of the time, no matter what situation and no matter what the resource backing, takes focus away from other areas where focus legitimately needs to be placed. We must ensure the message to both the community and government is heard on topics such as land use planning, resilience, community awareness, messaging and preparedness. Our industry body has been highly successful creating the opportunities for us to ensure our voice is heard across a very diverse stakeholder group. We need to make sure we take full advantage and give 100% support to these efforts. AFAC continues to lift the performance bar on providing our industry with high quality and engaging professional development events. Once again the annual conference in Darwin exceeded all expectations with almost 1000 registrations and the largest trade exhibition to date. More than 40 events have been held this year including forums, seminars, workshops, clinics and master classes. Further, AFAC has developed a number of partnerships for the delivery of joint events, maximising the opportunities and delivering cost savings for our members. The ability for AFAC to form strategic partnerships with aligned organisations will be increasingly important. We have more stakeholders in the emergency management sector than ever before including local government, the mining and energy sectors and key utilities to name but a few. In this rapidly changing environment I am very pleased to see that AFAC itself has commenced a significant review of their operating model. This work is being undertaken to ensure the organisation is well placed to meet its Vision into the future. I encourage you to read about this substantial program of work elsewhere in this report. I take this opportunity to thank AFAC CEO, Naomi Brown and her very hardworking team. On behalf of the Board and Council I also thank and recognise the work of our very talented people across Australasia who participate on the AFAC Groups and who are and will continue to be, the powerhouse in leading our industry forward. Lee Johnson AFAC President From the President 4 | Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council Annual Report 2011
2010 Annual Report