MFS 2017-2018 Annual Report

South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service, 2017-2018 Annual Report

ISSN 0812-4256

Date presented to Minister: 25 September 2018.


Hon Corey Wingard MP

Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services
Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing

This annual report is to be presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of South Australian 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:

Paul Fletcher

Acting Chief Officer and Acting 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.


  • COMMUNITY – Help make 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.

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.

Improving the safety of South Australians – in their homes, community and at work.

Low rates of preventable emergencies promote community positivity and investment, supporting economic growth.

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

Providing robust Emergency Management arrangements. (e.g. coordinated all agency approach) and better public services.

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

Improving the safety and resilience of South Australians with robust Emergency Management arrangements.  The more effective our service is, the safer the community and business feel.

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

Providing an efficient and accountable government service and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Solutions that are economically, socially and ecologically sustainable.

Agency programs and initiatives and their effectiveness and efficiency

Program name

Indicators of performance/effectiveness/efficiency

Outcome for South Australia


Identify risks associated with fire and other emergencies.

  • Fire cause established in 94% of the 167 fires investigated.

Foster behaviours that increase community preparedness:

  • 97% of Road Awareness Program (RAP) participants indicating that they will adopt safer behaviours post-program.
  • 3% recidivism rate of Juvenile Firelighter Program (JFLIP) attendees.

MFS Prevention programs have minimised the frequency and effects of fire and other emergencies.


The MFS undertook 234 building development proposal assessments during 2017-18.

91% of building development assessments were completed within 28 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.

  • Total of 30 360 emergency calls received.
  • Average time to answer 000 emergency calls was 4 seconds.
  • In 98% of 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:

  • 78% of all building and other structure fires were contained to part of room or area of origin.

This performance means that in over 75% 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.

  • 54 new Firefighting personnel were successfully recruited.
  • Significant numbers of MFS personnel were enrolled in nationally recognised training through the MFS Staff Development Framework (SDF). Enrolments included 234 personnel enrolled; 162 mandatory enrolments; 72 voluntary enrolments; and 1544 units of competency enrolled.

MFS Recruits are enrolled in a 75 day 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

  • Continued the rollout of 3000 litre Rear-Mount appliances to enhance frontline services in Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs.
  • During 2017-18, the MFS heavy fleet average age decreased from 12.36 years to 11.36 years as new appliances were commissioned.
  • Introduction of six new appliances fitted with vehicle protection systems to protect firefighters during catastrophic bushfire scenarios.
  • MFS fleet reserve capability (the time where a minimum of two reserve appliances were available) was only 40% during 2017-18.  However, appropriate vehicles and equipment supported operational performance at 100% of incidents.

MFS fleet reserve capability was severely impacted during 2017-18 by the continued loan of two MFS urban pumping appliances to CFS Mount Barker.

In addition, the contracted manufacturer was behind schedule on the construction of new MFS appliances.

PUBLIC VALUE – Environmental Practices

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

During 2017-18 the total MFS photovoltaic energy generation capability target of 125Kw was achieved.  All new MFS stations are now built with a minimum of 12.5 kilowatts.


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 2017-18.

PUBLIC VALUE – Work Health & 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 and Resilience
  • Metropolitan Operations
  • Regional Operations
  • Special Operations
  • Infrastructure and Logistics
  • Learning and Development
  • Executive Services

MFS Organisational Chart 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 – Enhance the capacity and efficiency of recruitment and recruit training processes.

Efficiencies have been realised through the introduction of an application fee; and through re-engineering and resequencing the Firefighter Recruitment and Selection Process.  Each new Recruit Course takes 75 business days.  Graduates receive the nationally recognised Certificate II in Firefighting and Emergency Operations.

WORKFORCE RENEWAL – Increase the gender and cultural diversity among potential firefighter recruit applicants

Actively engaging with community forums and marketing the service to members of the community who may not have previously considered firefighting as a profession.  Four Recruit Courses have been completed from the 2016 to 2018 intake with approximately 25% of participants being identified as from a diverse background.  The MFS will also:

  • Continue organisational involvement in the Male Champions of Change Program; and
  • Maintain and promote White Ribbon Accreditation.

WORKFORCE RENEWAL – Enhanced MFS capability to train personnel in high-risk settings as firefighters and officers.

The MFS invests heavily in workforce learning and development to ensure new and existing operational personnel can work safely and effectively in high-risk environments.  The MFS provides a minimum of eight years competency based training through the Staff Development Framework and tertiary level qualifications through the Executive Development Program. Planning has commenced to develop a new Structural Fire Behaviour Training Facility at Grand Junction Road, Angle Park

Agency performance management and development systems

Performance management and development system

Assessment of effectiveness and efficiency

MFS Organisational Doctrine – Provides broad guidance to personnel concerning how to behave and think in both operational and non-operational settings.

Produced and implemented a comprehensive MFS organisational doctrine to facilitate cultural modernisation and improve operational quality and safety. 

Continued implementation of the MFS organisational doctrine will occur including aligned behaviour management, cultural renewal and diversity strategies.

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.

162 personnel were compulsorily enrolled in nationally recognised qualifications through the MFS SDF.  100% of these personnel completed their mandatory SDF requirements. 72 additional personnel voluntarily enrolled in nationally recognised professional development programs during 2017-18.  Collectively, MFS personnel were enrolled in a total of 1 544 units of study.

936 full-time and retained MFS personnel completed both the Provide First Aid (PFA) and Provide Advanced Resuscitation (PAR) first aid training modules during this period. In addition, a further 30 – 40 non-uniformed personnel also undertook these training modules.

Work health, safety and return to work programs of the agency and their effectiveness

Program name and brief description


MFS Employee Assistance Program 

There has been a 200% increase in EAP referrals in the last 12 months with the greatest increase during the last half of the financial year which is attributed to the PTSD survey and ‘On the Couch’ awareness session.

MFS Station Visits

100% of planned Station Visits by the Employee Support Coordinator and Physiological Consultant was achieved.

MFS Flu Vaccination Program

85% of workforce voluntarily participated.

MFS Employee Wellness & Safety

An Employee Wellness & Safety department is in the process of being established with five key areas to assist in reducing workplace injuries and illness.

MFS Mental Health First Aid Program

MFS employees have undertaken accreditation to conduct Mental Health First Aid Training and the program is being delivered across the entire MFS workforce with 10% having received the training to date.

MFS Hep B Vaccination Program

100% of the operational workforce voluntarily participated.

PFAS Contamination Program

220 PFAS surveys have been received and all have been provided with blood test referrals.  To date 50% have undertaken the blood sampling.

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 was 1 notifiable incident during 2017-18.  However, it did not result in the issuing of provisional improvement, improvement or prohibition notice.  Consequently, there were no prosecutions or enforceable undertakings required. 

There was a 3.3% decrease in new claims numbers from the 2016-17 period.  Analysis of the claims data shows there were 33 cancer claims of which 23 were from former employees.  There were 5 psychological claims of which 3 have made a successful return to full duties.

There was a 21% reduction in claim expenditure compared to the 2016-17 period.  Data analysis shows the greatest reductions were achieved in the redemption of medical expenses (86.7%) and income support (93.4%).  Presumptive cancer claim expenditure this financial year was $295 435 (a 79.5% decrease from last year).

Work health and safety return to work performance




% Change
(+ / -)

Workplace injury claims

Total new workplace injury claims








Seriously injured workers*




Significant injuries (where lost time exceeds a working week, expressed as frequency rate per 1000 FTE)




Work health and safety regulation

Number of notifiable incidents (WHS Act 2012,
Part 3)




Number of provisional improvement, improvement and prohibition notices (WHS Act 2012 Sections 90, 191 and 195)




Return to work costs**

Total gross workers compensation expenditure ($)

$3 267 807

$4 124 220


Income support payments – gross ($)

$587 537

$599 898


*number of claimants assessed during the reporting period as having a whole person impairment of 30% or more under the Return to Work Act 2014 (Part 2 Division 5)
**before third party recovery

Data for the past five years is available at:   

Fraud detected in the agency

Category/nature of fraud

Number of instances

Type of fraud


Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud

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

Fraud, corruption, misconduct ad 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.

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



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:

The Office of the Commissioner of Public Sector Employment 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.

Consultancies below $10,000 each

Mick Doyle

Functional Fitness Working Group

$ 4 950

Property & Consulting Australia

Stakeholder management and engagement

$ 3 000

G-Force Building & Consulting

Structural calculations and site survey

   $ 600

G-Force Building & Consulting

Site inspection

   $ 535



 $9 085

Consultancies above $10,000 each

BDO Advisory

Enterprise Agreement Financial Framework

$17 579



$17 579

Total all consultancies

$ 26 664


Data for the past five years is available at:

See also the Consolidated Financial Report of the Department of Treasury and Finance for total value of consultancy contracts across the SA Public Sector.


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




Art of Staff

Classification review

$1 020

Australian Receivables

Provision of debt collection services

$14 843

Bound Consulting Group

Organisational development

$1 130



$10 500

David Gordon Smith

Database update

$6 400

Eli Murn

Road Awareness Program (RAP) presenter


Insync Solutions

Road Awareness Program (RAP) Pen test


Jeff McDonald

Mobile computer terminal and radio installation

$88 102

Kellogg Brown & Root

USAR Agreement – Retainer fee for engineer

$1 364

MIMP Connecting Solutions

IT works


Momentum Information Solutions

Professional services


NEC Australia

Network management services


Royal Park Salvage

Salvage services at incident

$5 262

Royal Park Salvage

Savage services at major incident

$343 864

Rubicor Group

Assessment centre

$49 819

Safe Select

Professional services

$30 582

SMS Management & Technology

Professional services

$1 200

Tyele Riddle

Road Awareness Program (RAP) presenter

$1 750

Quark & Associates

Professional services

$6 876

Verto Group

Road Awareness Program (RAP) software maintenance

$9 008


Data for the past five years is available at:

The details of all South Australian Government-awarded contracts for goods, services, and works are displayed on the SA Tenders and Contracts website here.

The website also provides details of across government contracts here.

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 2017-18 are attached to this report.

South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service Statement of Comprehensive Income

For the year ended 30 June 2018




Employee benefits

180 045

Supplies and services

16 766

Grants and subsidies


Depreciation and amortisation

7 408

Total expenses

204 510



Fees and charges

5 158

Grants and contributions

1 194

Net gain or loss on disposal of non-current assets


Interest revenues


Other income


Total income

6 869

Net cost of providing services

197 641

Revenues from SA Government


Revenues from SA Government

141 917

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

Not applicable.

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 state 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 –
  1. Incorporate the information contained in the annual reports of the emergency service organisations for the relevant financial year; and
  2. Include any other financial statements of account required under this Division; and
  3. 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 Australia 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

Staff Conduct – Behaviour


Staff Conduct – Driving an MFS Vehicle


Alleged Property Damage – Fire Incident



Complaint outcomes

Nature of complaint or suggestion

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

Staff Conduct - Behaviour

Complaint investigated. Verbal apology to complainant. Letter to complainant noting staff member counselled.

Staff Conduct - Behaviour

No action taken at request of complainant.

Staff Conduct – Driving an MFS Vehicle

No action taken at request of complainant.

Alleged Property Damage – Fire Incident

Complaint investigated. Letter to complainant noting findings of investigation.

Appendix: Audited financial statements 2017-18

the audited financial statements 2017-18 are not readily available in a format other than PDF. If you required further information on the MFS audited financial statements 2017-18 please contact or phone 8204 3600 during business hours.