Incoming President's Report - November, 2021

Posted on : Friday, 26 November 2021

Dear members,

 

It is a tremendous honour to have been elected President of FPA Australia and I am excited, and humbled, by the task before me.  

 

I have served on the Board for a year now, and in that time have got to see all of the hard work of the directors and staff, and the incredible potential of the Association. 

 

The team has achieved a lot in the last couple of years, but we are all very aware of some of the short-comings and areas requiring attention. 

 

At the AGM, interim CEO Leigh Gesthuizen reported on the recent work to change over the phone system and to move a lot of our systems into the cloud. 

 

He also informed attendees that FPA Australia has introduced a customer service team to improve our responses to calls and emails from members and customers. 

 

These are relatively new innovations, but they are starting to have an impact, and we look forward to a further improvements in the first half of 2022. 

 

On the Engagement front, the team is currently working on a program of face-to-face events across the country, now that Coronavirus restrictions seem to be in the rear-view mirror. 

 

These events will help to increase the networking opportunities available to members, and their access to good quality technical presentations on information relevant to them. 

 

The first stage of this will be a Member Update roadshow in the last week of February and first week of March, and details for these events will be circulated early in the new year. 

 

Our membership numbers are strong at the moment, but they won't continue that way unless we increase our local activity.

 

As a director from Queensland, I am well aware of the frustrations that members in some of our smaller states and territories have experienced, and we aim to improve the service we provide across the board. 

 

The National Advocacy Framework will help with this - we have part time state managers now in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria, and they are playing an active role in raising our profile with governments. 

 

This is part of a longer-term strategy of improving local relationships with politicians and bureaucrats so that FPA Australia always has a seat at the table when fire protection is being discussed. 

 

These positions are informed and supported by our Technical team and our Technical Advisory Committees, who turn their expertise and insight about standards, regulations, and fire protection policy into good practice guides, information bulletins, and other relevant content. 

 

Our Accreditation team has had a very busy couple of years, with the roll out of mandatory accreditation in NSW, and there is no sign that this will end any time soon. 

 

However, we don't want that work to stop us:  there is a lot of opportunity for recognition of our FPAS and BPAD schemes, even in those states that prefer licensing, and we are working on the mutual recognition implications for the Association. 

 

The Training team has similarly had a difficult year, but we're coming out the other side and training on the new Certificate II in Fire Protection and Inspection will commence in January, 2022. 

 

We're also going to be working on other units that we can offer to practitioners through our RTO to help increase the skills of the industry. 

 

Finally, communications.  You may have noticed the significant increase in enewsletters put out by FPA Australia since March, 2021, and we feel that this level of communication is important, so that members know what is happening in fire protection. 

 

We also have the quarterly Fire Australia magazine, and the editors would welcome any article contributions you may have, so get in touch with them at magazine@fpaa.com.au.  

 

2022 is going to be a great year for FPA Australia, and I'm excited about what we want to achieve. 

 

The team and I look forward to catching up with you sometime during the year. 

 

Kind regards,

 

Bob Grieve

Incoming President