Tasmania Fire Service Austerity – Cuts on the Horizon?

CPSU delegates recently met with TFS Management for the Industrial Consultative Committee.  

DPFEM has advised that the Vacancy Management Committee (VMC) has been re-established. Your Union is seeking more information about what the impacts of this will be.  

Managers within TFS were recently advised that “With increased cost pressures on our current budget and over the forward estimates, the agency is looking at opportunities to deliver services differently and identify and consider specific opportunities that could result in savings. 

With salaries making up a significant proportion of DPFEM’s budget, the VMC has been reformed to provide strategic oversight of the way vacancies are filled across the agency.  

Meeting weekly, the VMC will have oversight of management and vacancy filling practices. 

Reporting monthly to the AMG, the Committee will: 

  1. Consider requests to approve state service employee vacancies and variations to establishment  
  1. Monitor state service establishment budget vs actuals, identify areas of concern and help drive strategies to address overruns. 
  1. Monitor current vacancy filling, recruitment patterns and establishment management practices to identify opportunities that may result in savings or drive more efficient processes.  

Managers are encouraged to work with their teams to identify systems and process changes or improvements to ensure we are operating in the most effective and efficient manner”. 

Are you hearing about this in your workplace? Do you have vacancies in your team that haven’t been filled, or are you wondering about the future of projects and programs you are working on? Your Union want to hear from you so we can find out more. Get in touch with Jess Greene (North) at j.greene@tas.cpsu.com.au or 0401 968 394 or Mathew Woolhouse (South) at mwoolhouse@tas.cpsu.com.au or on 0407 637 735. 

Industrial Consultative Committee: 

In our last Industrial Consultative Committee meeting with DPFEM, our Delegates asked for  

an update on the State Fire Commission financial situation, noting that an update had  

been provided to managers some time ago, with no further action or communication 


We noted that this lack of communication has resulted in some concerns from members, particularly as it relates to the overuse of fixed term contracts to fill previously permanent roles. 

Bruce Byatt advised that the Fire Service Act is currently under review, and a key component of this will be the ongoing financial viability of the Tasmania Fire Service. 

We have had representation from some members that roles are only being filled and funded on a fixed term basics. If this has occurred in your work area, please let your Organiser know by emailing j.greene@tas.cpsu.com.au 

We are concerned that some government funding may cease to certain programs in the forward estimates and staff are indicating concern around what this may mean for them.  

Community Fire Safety Staffing Change Proposal: 

Chief Officer Dermot Barry has also opened consultation around proposed staffing changes within the Building Safety Unit of the Community Fire Safety division, within Tasmania Fire Service. Read the full Change Consultation Letter Here: https://www.cpsu.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Letter-to-CPSU-Building-Safety-staffing.pdf 

The State Fire Commission has provided additional funding of $251,000 per annum for three years to support the functions of the Building Safety Unit. A needs assessment has been undertaken to determine how to best resource the Unit with this new funding. The following positions have been proposed to be created within the Building Safety Unit:  

  • Building Safety Consultant North/North-West (Station Officer, TFFIEIA)  

Rationale: In light of increasing complexity and volume of work relating to the built environment, an additional Building Safety Consultant is sought. It is proposed that the role will be based in the north or north-west, depending on the location of the candidate. Travel across regions will be likely.  

  • Building Safety Support Officer statewide (TSSA, likely band 4 general stream)  

Rationale: This role is proposed in order to specifically oversee the permit processes and high-level service delivery to Building Safety clients. This role complements and provides general direction to the existing Band 2 TSSA clerical officer.  

  • Assistant Manager statewide (TSSA, likely band 7 general stream)  

Rationale: This role is proposed in light of recent re-classification of the Manager role, from band 7 to band 8. It is intended that this role will predominantly focus on people management and process and policy-related matters, enabling the Manager to focus on the strategic matters impacting the unit. The role will also be responsible for building and maintaining relationships with other regulatory and industry bodies.  

The current make-up of the Unit (noting these positions would remain) is as follows:  

  • Manager (band 8 general stream TSSA)  
  • Coordinator, Audit and Compliance (band 6 general stream TSSA)  
  • Senior Fire Engineer (band 2 professional stream, TSSA)  
  • Building Fire Safety Advisor (band 6 general stream TSSA)  
  • Fire Safety Auditor (Level 1 CSO, TFFIEIA)  
  • 5 x consultants (Station Officer/Senior Station Officer, TFFIEIA)  
  • 1 x consultant (level 3 CSO, TFFIEIA)  
  • Fixed-term False Alarm project officer (band 6 general stream TSSA)  
  • Clerical Support Officer (band 2, TSSA)  

The CPSU would like to hear your feedback on these proposed changes. Get in touch with Jess Greene (North) at j.greene@tas.cpsu.com.au or 0401 968 394 or Mathew Woolhouse (South) at mwoolhouse@tas.cpsu.com.au or on 0407 637 735. If you have any queries you can also contact Rhiannon Garth, Acting/Director Community Fire Safety, on 0459 907 219. 

 Read the full Change Consultation Letter Here: https://www.cpsu.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Letter-to-CPSU-Building-Safety-staffing.pdf 

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