Former Nationals MP Niall Blair to oversee Victorian fire reforms

By Matthew Elmas

Wednesday December 16, 2020

Niall Blair
Niall Blair (AAP/Dean Lewins)

The Victorian government has brought in former NSW Nationals deputy leader Niall Blair to oversee improvements to the state’s fire services model.

Appointed as the inaugural Fire Services Implementation Monitor, Blair will assess and review how the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and the recently established Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) undertake reforms outlaid in the 2017 Fire Services Statement.

Specifically, Blair will assess progress on implementing the first part of Victoria’s fire services reform plan, which was first unveiled in October.

The former politician will bring a ‘strong understanding of complex multi-agency environments’ to the role, minister for policy and emergency services Lisa Neville said in a statement.

“I congratulate Mr Blair on his appointment as Fire Services Implementation Monitor – this is an important step in making sure the reforms achieve positive and sustainable changes to our state’s fire services,” Neville said.

Blair will also be responsible for assessing how the implementation plan affects the financial sustainability of both the CFA and FRV.

Under the ‘Year One’ implementation plan there are five priorities, including:

  • Restoring CFA to a volunteer firefighting agency;
  • Continue with establishing the FRV;
  • Plan and build for the future;
  • Value our firefighters; and
  • Ensuring the future sustainability of the fire services.

Blair said he was honored to take on the role.

“I am honoured to be appointed in this position and to have the opportunity to work closely with both those on the frontline and behind the scenes – all who work tirelessly every day to keep our communities safe,” he said in a statement.

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