A message from the DC regarding the RFS Reform

Dear RFS volunteers and staff, 

I’m keen to give you an update on the RFS uplift work. 

You may have heard a recent announcement by Minister Ryan about additional investment in RFS fleet. The RFS is set to invest more than $85 million into a new three-year 285 vehicle building program. This increases the total investment to $123.50 million and means the pipeline of new and replacement RFS vehicles is now 412. The additional investment includes funding for at least 80 light attack, 140 medium attack and 30 heavy attack appliances, plus 18 bulk water tankers. Exact quantities will be finalised once the procurement process has been completed. This is the most significant investment we’ve had in fleet and means we can better support our communities.

I’m also pleased to update you on the staffing uplift that will happen as a result of the review of disaster and emergency services in Queensland. The reform will see an extra 114 full-time equivalent positions for the RFS, as well as additional funding for new appliances, facilities, and equipment. A legislative review will also be undertaken.

There is a lot happening in a short period of time.

What does this mean for you?

A new RFS structure is needed to support the additional staffing uplift and meet the needs of a contemporary RFS. It aims to streamline processes and put resources where they are needed most – to improve frontline service delivery with improved support to our volunteers and the community. 

We are currently working on the new structure. It is proposed that RFS will have a state office, four regions, eight districts and 25 areas. Maps of these boundaries can be viewed in the links below:

With the new structure, there will be no job losses or requirements to move or relocate.  All regions will be receiving staffing uplifts. It is anticipated that more details about the new RFS structure, such as the number and types of positions, will be finalised over the coming weeks. We will review the plan throughout implementation, to make sure we’ve got it right. 

How will the additional staff be recruited?

The rollout of the 114 new uplift positions will be implemented progressively over the next two years. We have committed to recruiting 67 of the 114 positions in this financial year and the remaining 47 positions in the next financial year.

Recruiting 114 new positions will be a significant challenge, especially in the current labour market. We are engaging with external recruitment specialists to help facilitate and manage this process. We will keep you updated as more details become available.

Who has been involved in the new structure?

Over the past several months, we have held the first rounds of engagement, with more than 700 volunteers and staff participating in over 30 workshops. We have listened to your feedback and heard the things that are most important to you. This feedback, along with data, local knowledge and best-practice organisational design, has been used to inform the new structure. Not everyone’s suggestions have been able to be incorporated into the design as different stakeholders have different, and sometimes competing, priorities. What we have done is listened and genuinely taken into consideration all feedback provided. 

In the next few weeks, we will commence another round of engagement to keep you informed. Keep an eye out for session dates – these will be disseminated from your region or state unit.

What else is happening?

There is work underway at the departmental level to determine how corporate services and joint operations will support the new Queensland Fire Department, RFS and Fire and Rescue Service in the future. There is still work to do in this space and information will be shared as it becomes available.

How can I contribute and stay informed?

Your feedback and questions are always welcome – you can submit these via the RIT web page. 

We understand that these reform changes can be an uncertain and challenging time, however, we are committed to supporting you through this change.

If you would like to know more about the reform project, please see link to Queensland Government RFS Reform Project.

Kind regards, 

Joanne Greenfield
Chief Officer Rural Fire Service
A/Deputy Commissioner
Capability and State Services