MFS 2016 - 2017 Annual Report

South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service - 2016-17 Annual Report

ISSN  0812-4256

Date presented to Minister:  5 October 2017



Hon Chris Picton MLC

Minister for Emergency Services

This annual report is presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 and meets the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting.

This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.

Submitted on behalf of the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service by

Michael Morgan

Acting Chief Officer and Chief Executive


Section A: Reporting required under the Public Sector Act 2009, the Public Sector Regulations 2010 and the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987

Agency purpose or role

The South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) is the primary provider of urban firefighting services to the state of South Australia and a statutory authority committed to protecting life, property and the environment from fire and other emergencies.

The MFS is a community-focused organisation that aims to reduce the number of preventable emergency incidents, and protect lives and reduce the economic, social and environmental losses to the community resulting from fires and other emergencies that do occur.

By preventing and quickly and effectively responding to emergencies, the MFS helps make all South Australians safer by protecting lives, property and prosperity. The MFS holds a unique position of public trust and value because our personnel take measured risks to serve the community.

The MFS visibly helps ensure our neighbourhoods remain safe and welcoming. The MFS also protects the State’s manufacturing and retail industries, thereby protecting jobs, skills and technologies that might not be replaced.

As an agency, the MFS is responsible to the Minister for Emergency Services and works in collaboration with the SA Country Fire Service, State Emergency Service and the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission.


The MFS 2016-2017 Business Plan identified the following areas of priority until 2020:

  • COMMUNITY – Help make the South Australian community safer and more prosperous.
  • PREVENTION – Minimise the frequency and effects of fires and other emergencies.
  • RESPONSE – Reduce risk to life, property, environment and economy through operational excellence.
  • PREPAREDNESS – Develop a sustainable community-focused organisation.
  • PUBLIC VALUE – Exceed expected standards of corporate governance and provide public value.


Key strategies and their relationship to SA Government objectives

Key Strategy SA Government objective

COMMUNITY – Deliver first class emergency services that minimise the social, environmental and economic loss.

STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN (SEMP) – Aligning principles to underpin a resilient South Australia with robust Emergency Management arrangements.

PREVENTION – Promote, maintain and improve community education, fire investigation, building inspection and commissioning of building fire safety systems to ensure cost effective fire safety solutions that protect lives.


SA Strategic Plan - We are safe in our homes, community and at work.                   

SA’s Seven Strategic Priorities: Safe communities healthy neighbourhoods; Growing advanced manufacturing. Low rates of preventable emergencies promote community positivity and investment.

RESPONSE – Work collaboratively to continuously improve the integration of emergency response and ensure we provide the nearest, fastest, and most appropriate resources.





STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN (SEMP) – Aligning principles to underpin a resilient South Australia with robust Emergency Management arrangements. (e.g. Coordinated all agency approach).

SA’s Seven Strategic Priorities: Growing advanced manufacturing. Limiting community losses minimises community and economic disruption.

PREPAREDNESS – Continuous improvement of our response and incident management capabilities including data management, incident review systems and professional development of personnel.



STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN (SEMP) – Aligning principles to underpin a resilient South Australia with robust Emergency Management arrangements.

SA’s Seven Strategic Priorities: Safe communities healthy neighbourhoods.  The more effective our service is, the safer community and business feel.

PUBLIC VALUE – Meet expected standards of governance, risk management, compliance and value expected by our community and stakeholders.


SA Strategic Plan – We are safe in our homes, community and at work (Customer and client satisfaction).

SA Government’s Three Approaches - Solutions that are economically, socially and ecologically sustainable.

Agency programs and initiatives and their effectiveness and efficiency

Program name

Indicators of performance/effectiveness/efficiency



Identify risks associated with fire and other emergencies.

Fire cause established 96.5% of incidents.

Foster behaviours that increase community preparedness.

99% of Road Awareness Program (RAP) participants indicating they will adopt safer behaviours post-program. 

0% recidivism rate of Juvenile Firelighter Program (JFLIP) attendees


MFS Prevention programs have reduced community life, property and economic losses.

For example, JFLIP is estimated to have saved over $25M in health related costs and $10M in projected property damage.






The MFS undertook 192 building development proposal assessments during 2016-17.

100% of building development assessments were completed within 20 days.


MFS Built Environs programs help to ensure the safety of SA public buildings.  This includes ensuring new developments have required safety systems and do not employ high risk products or construction methods.



Ensure effective operational call receipt and dispatch.

Average time to answer 000 emergency calls was 4.5 seconds.

In 94.57% if cases, the agreed call response standard was met.

The MFS Communication Centre ensured that resources from across the SA Emergency Services sector were promptly and effectively dispatched to all emergencies.


Ensure effective fire ground operations:

82.68% of 941 building and other structure fires were contained to the object, part or whole of room of origin.


This performance means that in over 80% of cases, property damage was limited to the room of origin. This greatly limited community losses.  The result is a combination of efficiency (response time) and effectiveness (the quality of firefighter performance).

PREPAREDNESS – Learning and Development

A highly skilled workforce that can safely undertake the roles required of MFS personnel.

36 new Firefighters were selected from the 2016-17 Recruitment Process. 18 completed recruit training with another 18 commencing training in June.

Significant numbers of MFS personnel were enrolled in nationally recognised training through the MFS Staff Development Framework (SDF). Enrolments included 286 personnel enrolled; 171 mandatory enrolments; 115 voluntary enrolments; and 1735 units of competency enrolled.


MFS recruits are enrolled in a 14-week in-house training program that develops essential emergency response skills.

Recruits and other MFS personnel are provided with access to nationally recognised competency-based training through the MFS SDF.

High-level accredited training is considered essential given the high risk nature of firefighting.


PREPAREDNESS – Infrastructure and Logistics

During 2016-17, the percentage of MFS appliances over 20 years old decreased from 15% to 10% as new CAPA class appliances were commissioned.

MFS fleet reserve capability (the time where a minimum of two reserve appliances were available) was only 22.80% during 2016-17. However, appropriate vehicles and equipment supported operational performance at 100% of incidents.


The new CAPA class appliances have greatly enhanced MFS capability in Adelaide and major regional centres.

MFS fleet reserve capability was severely impacted during 2016-17 by the continued loan of two MFS urban pumping appliances to CFS Mount Barker.


PUBLIC VALUE (Environmental Practices)

Ensure sustainable and environmentally friendly practices are employed by increasing total MFS photovoltaic energy generation.




The total MFS photovoltaic energy generation capability is now 120kW producing approximately 67,611 kwh during 2016-17. No additional capacity was added however, maintenance was undertaken to ensure panel efficiency was optimised.


Indicators of fiscal performance include:

An unqualified report for the Auditor General. MFS aims to achieve an unqualified Financial Report each financial year.

The MFS received unqualified Auditor General’s and Financial Reports during 2016-17.


PUBLIC VALUE (Work Health and Safety)

Audit and Verification System for safety and injury management to AS/NZS 4801 2000.

Injury management – to key requirements of the Return to Work Act.

MFS conducted an internal audit of agency WH&S programs. No areas of non-compliance were identified.


Legislation administered by the agency

Part 3 of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005

Organisation of the Agency

Community Safety & Resilience

  • Metropolitan Operations
  • Regional Operations
  • Special Operations
  • Infrastructure & Logistics
  • Learning & Development
  • Executive Services

MFS Organisational Chart 2017 – 2018 is available at

Other agencies related to this agency (within the Minister’s area/s of responsibility)

South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission (SAFECOM)

South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS)

State Emergency Service (SES)

Employment opportunity programs

Program name

Result of the program

 Workforce Renewal

To address the need for workforce renewal the MFS aims to enhance the capacity and efficiency of recruitment and recruit training processes; increase the gender and cultural diversity among potential firefighter recruit applicants by actively engaging with community forums and marketing the service to members of the community who may not have previously considered firefighting as a profession; and enhance the capability of the MFS to train personnel to work in high-risk settings as firefighters and officers.

Agency performance management and development systems

Performance management and development system

Assessment of effectiveness and efficiency

MFS Staff Development Framework (SDF) – All MFS personnel are provided access to career-long nationally recognised competency-based training.  All new Firefighters must complete six years of mandatory development.




172 full-time metropolitan personnel were compulsorily enrolled in nationally recognised qualifications through the MFS SDF.  100% of these personnel completed their mandatory SDF requirements.  152 additional personnel voluntarily enrolled in nationally recognised professional development programs during 2016-17.

253 MFS regional personnel completed the Regional Career Development Pathway during 2016-17, obtaining nationally recognised units of competency essential to their role.

983 full-time and retained MFS personnel completed the First Aid Course (Provide Advanced Resuscitation module) during this period.

The MFS is trialling a behavioural performance management process aligned to the new organisational doctrine.

The effectiveness of the new behavioural performance management process will be reviewed on a dynamic basis as the program is implemented on a transitional basis during 2017-18.


Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programs of the agency and their effectiveness <>

Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programs


Emergency Services Sector - Employee Assistance Program

Increased usage when compared to the last seven years due to improved communication and promotion (supports our early intervention strategy).

Emergency Services Sector - Staff Welfare Checks        

Provision of regular confidential face to face counselling of employees to support early intervention. 70% of workforce engaged.  

Emergency Services Sector – Flu Vaccination Program

70% of workforce voluntarily participated.


Emergency Services Sector – Work Station Ergonomics Program

All new staff have completed.  Any adjustments identified are actioned promptly with no injury claims arising.

 Risk Management: The MFS Work Health Safety and Injury Management (WHS&IM) system is aligned to AS/NZS 4801 (Occupational health and safety management systems – specification with guidelines for use). The system is underpinned by the philosophies and methods set out in AS/NZS/ISO 31 000, (Risk Management – Principles and guidelines) to ensure the MFS achieves its safety and injury management objectives.

WHS&IM system performance is evaluated through audit, review and investigation, the analysis of hazard, incident, near miss (HIRM) and workers compensation (SIMS) data and surveys to ensure effectiveness and ongoing improvement.





Injury management: Firefighting remains a physically and mentally demanding occupation; the MFS commits considerable priority and resources to managing employee injuries.







There were four notifiable incidents during 2016-17. However, none of these resulted in the issuing of provisional improvement, improvement or prohibition notices. Consequently, there were no prosecutions or enforceable undertakings required.

There was a 35% increase in new claims numbers from the 2015-16 period. Analysis of the claims data shows the increase was directly attributed to the proposed changes to public sector claims management processes. Although claim numbers increased there was a significant reduction (48%) in lost time claims compared with the 2015-16 period.

There were significant decreases in all areas except hospital and rehabilitation/return to work costs. Overall claims costs for the period has reduced by 47.49% compared to the 2015-16 period. Presumptive cancer claim expenditure this financial year was $1 437 844, a 5.78% decrease from last year.

Fraud detected in the agency

Category/nature of fraud

Number of instances



Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud

SAFECOM maintains a governance structure and internal controls that are designed to prevent and minimse the impact of fraud including:

Fraud, corruption, misconduct and maladministration policy, procedure and control plan in place.

Financial and human resource policies and procedures.

An Audit and Risk Committee that reports to the SAFECOM Board.

Regular financial monitoring and reporting.

Data for the past five years is available at:  


Whistle-blowers' disclosure

Number of occasions on which public interest information has been disclosed to a responsible officer of the agency under the Whistle-blowers’ Protection Act 1993    0             

Data for the past five years is available at:


Executive employment in the agency

Executive classification

Number of executives





Data for the past five years is available at:

For further information, the Office for the Public Sector has a data dashboard for further information on the breakdown of executive gender, salary and tenure by agency.



The following is a summary of external consultants that have been engaged by the agency, the nature of work undertaken and the total cost of the work undertaken.




All consultancies below $10,000 each



Consultancies above $10,000 each

 Mick Doyle

Composite wage system review



Investigation of sites with firefighting foam use


Total all consultancies


Data for the past five years is available at:

See also for a list of all external consultancies, including nature of work and value. See also the Consolidated Financial Report of the Department of Treasury and Finance  for total value of consultancy contracts across the SA Public Sector.


Financial performance of the agency

The following is a brief summary of the overall financial position of the agency. The information is unaudited. Full audited financial statements for 2016-17 are attached to this report.

South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service Statement of Comprehensive Income For the year ended 30 June 2017

Expenses 121 195
Employee benefits 13 941
Supplies and services 74
Grants and subsidies 7522
Depreciation and amortisation 142 732
Total expenses  
Fees and charges 4 659
Grants and contributions 1 106
Net gain/(loss) from disposal of non-current assets 261
Interest revenues 56
Other income 956
Total income 7 038
Net cost of providing services 135 694
Revenues from SA Government  
Revenues from SA Government 136 555
Total revenues from SA Government 136 555
Net result 961
Total comprehensive result 961

Other financial information

Nil to report

Other information requested by the Minister(s) or other significant issues affecting the agency or reporting pertaining to independent functions



Section B: Reporting required under any other act or regulation

South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005

South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005

Section 22 – Annual Reports states that :

  1. The Commission must, on or before 31 October in each year, provide to the Minister a report on the  activities of the emergency services during the preceding financial year.
  2. The report must –
  • Incorporate the information contained in the annual reports of the emergency service    organisations  for the relevant financial year; and
  • Include any other financial statements of account required under this Division; and
  • Include any other information that would be required if the Commission were reporting under the Public Sector Act 2009; and
  • Comply with any other requirements prescribed by or under this Act or the regulations.

This report is submitted to the SAFECOM Board pursuant to the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005.


Section C: Reporting of public complaints as requested by the Ombudsman

Summary of complaints by subject

Public complaints received by South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service

Category of complaints by subject

Number of instances

 No category


Please note: An MFS Customer Complaint Handling policy and procedure is soon to be implemented to enable data collection in alignment with Ombudsman SA guidelines.


Data for the past five years is available at: 

Complaint outcomes

Nature of complaint or suggestion

Services improved or changes as a result of complaints or consumer suggestions

No outcomes as no complaints received / recorded.

Nil response.


Appendix: Audited financial statements 2016-17

The audited financial statements 2016-17 are not readily available in a format other than PDF. If you require further information on the MFS audited financial statements 2016-17, please contact or 8204 3600 during business hours.