Responding and Assisting in Bushfires Project

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Case for change

Forest and land managers responsible for bushfire prevention, as well as forestry and departmental contractors who participate in fire recovery activities, under the direction of incident controllers and responsible government agencies, require the skills to prevent bushfires and to respond effectively to bushfire recovery.

It is anticipated that Australia will have an increased frequency of bushfires in the future and seasonal changes are leaving less time for hazard reduction. Australia needs well-trained and prepared workers and managers dealing with increasingly demanding situations.

Industry feedback has indicated that a range of skill gaps emerged in the 2019-2020 bushfires, particularly in relation to effective communication and awareness of hazards associated with recovery activities.

The Forest Management and Harvesting Industry Reference Committee are committed to ensuring the safety of its workforce, who assist in bushfire recovery operations as part of their work duties. They want to ensure that workers and operators are effectively trained and ready to respond and assist when a bushfire emergency arises.

This project will review and develop national units of competency to incorporate the skills required of workers and contractors involved in the prevention, response, and clean-up of bushfires.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2021 Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work (see pages 49-53).

The Forest Management and Harvesting Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project as part of their responsibility to support engagement with the sector, and to ensure the project meets industry stakeholder needs.

Skills Impact and ForestWorks will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

 

Download Project Proposal (see page 49-53)

Project Plan

Forestry operators, arborists and other service providers hold a key role in assisting with bushfire mitigation and clean-up operations. These workers can have additional responsibilities placed upon them that go beyond their day-to-day role, particularly those who operate heavy machinery. They can be called to assist in the construction and maintenance of fuel or fire breaks, undertake mechanical fuel hazard reduction activities, and clean up after a bushfire. These workers must have and maintain appropriate skills to meet challenging and unpredictable situations.

The bushfires of 2019-2020 brought attention to how workers and contractors can support the prevention and clean-up of bushfires. The Federal Government’s Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements highlighted the importance of skills in mechanical thinning and its potential to reduce the intensity and rate of spread of a bushfire.

Project Scope

Industry feedback has indicated that a range of skill gaps emerged in recent bushfires, particularly in relation to effective communication and awareness of hazards associated with recovery activities. Considerations will also be given to current skill needs in mechanical bushfire fuel load reduction.

This project will assess the extent of the skills gaps and propose training package solutions in consultation with the broad range of relevant stakeholders, including forestry and arboriculture representatives, government agencies and public safety and emergency services.

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Forestry & Timber’ as your industry of interest.

Relevant Occupations

Forestry, arboriculture and civil construction workers and contractors engaged in bushfire recovery activities.

 

Project Team
Georgiana DaianProject Manager, ForestWorksgdaian@forestworks.com.au
Michelle ClaytonIRC and Industry Engagement Manager, ForestWorksmclayton@forestworks.com.au
Rob StowellIndustry Skills Standard Contractor

Timeline

August 2021
Initial scoping

Sept 2021 – Feb 2021
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

March – April 2022
Drafts available for broad consultation

April 2022
Validation of final drafts

May 2022
Finalisation of Training Package components

May – July 2022
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

July 2022
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

Subject Matter Experts

Subject Matter Experts will be drawn on throughout this project to help review and draft the revised units, skill sets and qualifications.

If you are interested in applying to be a subject matter expert and are able to volunteer your time to this project, please email details of your expertise to gdaian@forestworks.com.au

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in March-April 2022, and again for validation of final drafts in April 2022. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the qualifications, skill set and units. It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future.

The qualifications, skill sets, and units of competency need to reflect real work experience. So, if you work in the sector, Skills Impact would love your input and help. Please feel free to register your interest for project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link below. Alternatively, please feel free to contact the project manager, Georgiana Daian on gdaian@forestworks.com.au.

Development

The bushfires of 2019-2020 brought attention to how forestry operators, arborists and other service providers can support the prevention and clean-up of bushfires. The events also highlighted the need for updated national skills standards to support this work. Industry feedback indicated that a range of skill gaps emerged in recent bushfires, particularly in relation to effective communication and awareness of hazards associated with recovery activities. The Federal Government’s Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements also highlighted the importance of skills in mechanical thinning and its potential to reduce the intensity and rate of spread of a bushfire.

Experts in the field are being consulted to assess the skills gaps among workers who assist in bushfire recovery operations and to propose training package solutions. A working group of subject matter experts has been identified and they will meet throughout November and December 2021. They will be consulted on the skills required of bushfire recovery operators, so these can be addressed in national units of competency. Essential skills such as effective communication and assessment of trees damaged by bushfires will be considered and represented in the skills standards.

Development outcomes and next steps

Broad stakeholder consultation is scheduled to commence in March 2022, when draft qualifications and units of competency will be made available for feedback on this webpage. Your input is welcome, please feel free to register your interest to keep informed of project updates and when draft materials are available for feedback by following the newsletter subscription link below.

 

Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Forestry & Timber’ as your industry of interest.

 

Drafts Available

This stage has not yet commenced

Validation

This stage has not yet commenced

Finalisation

This stage has not yet commenced