About the fund
The goals of the Employees of the NSW Fire Brigades Relief and Welfare Fund are to:
- Provide assistance to members in times of hardship.
- Improve the quality lifestyle of all members through the offering of services and benefits.
- Represent our members in assisting the community
The objectives of the Employees of the NSW Fire Brigades Relief and Welfare Fund are to:
- Provide support to members who are experiencing emotional anguish as a result of their situation;
- Provide financial assistance to members who are suffering financial difficulties which is impacting on the quality of life for both them and their immediate families;
- Engage with our members to understand their needs and the views they have for the community;
- Continuously improve the quality and range of assistance offered to the members.
The vision of the Employees of the NSW Fire Brigades Relief and Welfare Fund is to become an organisation which can significantly contribute to the lifestyle improvement of all the members.
- Financial assistance in times of hardship
- Mortality benefit in the event of a death of a member, member’s partner or dependent child, by providing financial assistance towards funeral costs
- Assistance to purchase medical equipment or mobility aids
- Emergency accommodation units – located above Marrickville Fire Station and available for members who require accommodation in Sydney due to medical or other urgent needs, on a short-term basis
- Referrals to financial advice
- Discounted holiday accommodation in Forster (allocated by annual ballot)
- Free Taronga Zoo and Western Plains Zoo family passes
- Peer support and friendship
History of the Fund
From our Founder, Robert Smith QFSM, J.P.
In the early days of my career within the Fire Brigade I was attached to Headquarters (COS) where I witnessed a number of my fellow firefighters suffering hardship caused by off duty injury, serious medical conditions and ordinary illness, resulting in the medical expenses being prohibitive.
On attaining the rank of Superintendent, the late Mr. Bill Reay AFSM, granted me an audience with him where I expressed my feelings to form a welfare fund for the benefit of all employees of the Brigades and their families. The Chief accepted my suggestion and requested me to form a committee.
I approached two very good firefighter friends, the late John Benson and Chris Stone who immediately accepted the challenge endeavouring to cover all the legal aspects and formulate a constitution. I believe the Welfare fund would not be operating today if Chris and John had said no to my request.
The big day came when a committee was appointed by the members when the Board of Fire Commissioners presented me with a cheque for $5,000 to start the Fund. The Fund has grown since its foundation and because of legalities we have had three name changes.
The money to make the Welfare Fund viable is today made possible by the members contributing $1.00 a week.
My late father once said to me and I quote “son if you take something from the earth, replace it with something else, or the earth will die”. It has been a privilege, a pleasure and an honour to work with the dedicated present and past members of the committee.
Robert Smith QFSM, J.P.
Founder, Life Patron, Life member
Past President, Committee member
The NSW Fire Brigades Employees Relief and Welfare Fund
Protecting confidentiality is a key element in maintaining the trust of our members. Confidentiality is of paramount importance and refers to the obligation of all committee members to keep any information disclosed by our members a secret.
The Fund does not disclose personal information about clients to any other source as we have an ethical responsibility to ensure:
- we respect the privacy of those providing the information; and
- individuals cannot be identified in disseminated information.
It is the right of the Fund's members to have their confidentiality and privacy respected. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that a high standard of information acquisition and recording is achieved. Client confidentiality and privacy are respected with written and spoken information protected from access and use by any person outside of the elected committee. We do not divulge the names and details of our members without their authorisation.
- All information which is obtained will be treated with a high level of respect and privacy
- All information is stored in a secure fashion, whether in electronic or printed format
- Committee members are to be aware of NEVER discussing confidential information with unauthorised people
- Any personal information collected by staff is to be factual, complete and up to date. Committee members attending to a request for assistance can only collect personal information which is relevant in relation to statistics or for the member's needs and goals.
All committee members are NEVER to give out confidential and/or private information about a member unless it is to an authorised person. This means not even to family members as the person has the right to withhold private information from his/her family members.
Audit and Governance
Audit and governance is of the upmost important to the committee of Fund, as it ensures all cases are dealt with fairly and equally while all money which is held on behalf of the members is used appropriately.
There are a number of measures in place in place to ensure all funds are appropriately apportioned. This includes:
- Compliance with the Corporation's Law administered by Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC);
- All minor expenses are to be approved by either the Treasurer or President, or their delegates.;
- Dual signatures for all cheques signed by the Fund;
- The committee is bound by an established and member-approved constitution.
To ensure all funds are appropriately accounted for, all accounts belonging to the Relief and Welfare Fund are audited by an independent accredited auditor and a report is presented at the Annual General Meeting each year.