FPA Christmas messages

Posted on : Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Dear members,


As 2020 draws to a close, I'd like to thank all of our members for their support of, and commitment to, Australia's leading fire industry association. 


Despite the obvious challenges of the last 12 months, FPA Australia has achieved much in its drive to deliver better community safety. 


In Accreditation, we have seen the formal recognition of our Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) by the New South Wales Government, demonstrating the benefits of co-regulation in the professionalisation of the fire industry. 


On the Training front, not only have we finished work on our NSW and Victorian Training Centres, but we are in discussions with AFAC and some fire brigades to set up similar facilities in other states.  In addition, we are rolling out our contract trainer program, working on the Qualified Pathway for FPAS, and have been recognised as one of the only training providers for Victorian registered practitioners by the VBA.  


Our events saw a setback with the cancellation of Fire Australia 2020, but planning is significantly advanced for next year, and it should be an excellent conference and tradeshow.  The Technical team stepped into the events space admirably, and has rolled out an ongoing program of webinars to reach out to members in a time of restrictions and lockdowns. 


Our membership continues to increase, with strong retention rates and high levels of new membership, despite obvious challenges to engagement throughout the year.  However, we are revamping our Local Coordinating Committees in 2021 and plan to run several local events throughout the year to improve opportunities for learning and networking. 


Our financial position has improved markedly.  At the beginning of the year we were facing a significant deficit, but swift action and a focus on cost recovery has put us back into surplus, giving the Association far more flexibility to deliver for its members. 


In the coming year, the Board and the Executive team are focused on innovation and digitisation, to support all of the Association's activities.  We are keen to leave any difficulties of the past 12 months behind us to focus on reconnecting with members, streamlining our processes, and helping all of you to carry out your business as paraprofessionals. 


But first, we all need to take some time to connect with our nearest and dearest, to remind ourselves of what truly matters. 


On behalf of the Board, may you have a happy, healthy, and peaceful Christmas, in line with whatever traditions and religious practices you follow. 


And may 2021 bring you success, prosperity, and contentment. 


Stay safe! 


William (Bill) Lea, AFSM







Dear members,


In my first Christmas message to you as Chief Operating Officer of FPA Australia, I would like to echo Bill's comments, above. 


The team and I are very proud of what we have been able to achieve this year, and are confident that the Association is moving ever onward towards bigger and better things. 


We end this year with a new and expanded Executive team, which is working hard to set new directions and to provide the support needed by FPA Australia members.  They are:  


  • John Clampett - National Manager, Policy and Advocacy
  • Leigh Gesthuizen - National Manager, Technical and Advisory
  • Paul Hodgson - Executive Officer, Ozone Protection
  • Amanda Hogarth - National Manager, Accreditation
  • Andrew Kendt - Manager, Finance and Corporate
  • Paul Waterhouse - National Manager, Engagement
  • Chris Wyborn - National Manager, Training and Bushfire Services


I believe that we now have the right leaders in place to deliver for our members, and I look forward to working closely with each of them over the next 12 months.  


But anyone thinking that next year will quieter may be mistaken. 


Although we expect that the effects of the pandemic will ease next year, particularly following the release of the vaccine (and notwithstanding the recent outbreak in NSW), the Board and Executive have some big goals: 


  • revamping our approach to member engagement;
  • increasing activity, running more local events on relevant topics;
  • improving our advocacy outreach to influence government decision-makers;
  • rolling out the Qualified Pathway for FPAS in NSW and commencing discussions with other states;
  • launching the NSW Training Centre and pursuing new partnerships;
  • implementing our contract trainer network;
  • delivering better technical support for our members; and
  • implementing the FPA Australia digital strategy. 


These projects will take some effort, but the team is up to the task and ready to go. 


Together, we will reinforce FPA Australia's position as the leading fire industry association in Australia, looking after your interests and improving community safety. 


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenges it presented for the industry, FPA Australia will be making a donation to our Official Charity Partner, the Fiona Wood Foundation in lieu of giving out corporate gifts. 


Professor Fiona Wood has been on the frontline of burns research and technology for many years and is one of Australia's most respected plastic and reconstructive surgeons. 


Her Foundation is leading the way in burn management and recovery for people who have sustained serious burns, both locally and overseas.  


We believe it is fitting for our industry to support such a worthy cause, and we hope that you approve of our donation. 


On behalf of the Executive and staff, I wish you and your family a safe and happy festive period, wherever you may be, and may 2021 bring you success and prosperity. 


All the best!  


Nathan Semos

Chief Operating Officer