Bushfire Monkey Business

The growing business of bushfires has amazed us here at SOS-NEWS, and just small amounts of people are harvesting the rewards of contrived government manipulation. 

 A submission to our Federal Pollies using the 2003 ACT/Snowy Mountain fire that killed, maimed and devastated our environment, along with the 2002 Victorian inferno, attracted a $15 Million subsidy to start an Aircraft water bombing organisation to supply all states and territories from a central place located in Melbourne.

 It was also suggested by this submission tendered by Len Foster (pictured), CEO of the Victorian Country Fire Authority, that it be in private enterprise and not under government control. This also was agreed to By Ian Campbell , then Environmnet minister in Canberra. 

 So len and his best mate Phil Koperberg, now cashed up, drafted a constitution and registered a public company (similar to an incorporated group for the local cricket club) and listed Koperberg as Managing Director, with Len as company secretary. To read this and other revelations such as Col Adams, a most senior, and pioneer of bushfire water bombing, take a download of our PDF book – BUSHFIRE BOMBERS.

To obtain your FREE copy – click here


Story Menu

We at SOS-NEWS are proud of the fact that Mr Koperberg has acknowledged that we exist as he was heard on recent ABC radio as quoting – “An Obscure Website” in reference to our reporting the recent pine forest fire near Tumut from one of our on the spot resource stoolpigeons

SPECIAL BUSHFIRE FLASH

From Campfire to Section 44 in 6 Hours – Why?NSW-RFS Commissioner Koperberg….. At approximately 0815, yesterday (Sunday 10th December 2006) morning a local noticed a small fire trickling through a pine forest floor in a benign manner. This fire at the time covered less than quarter of a hectare. Not having any basic fire equipment with which to deal to it, the observer attempted to call the authorities via UHF radio, but was unable to make contact. Attempting to use the repeater station frequencies so installed for just this emergency, the authorities were still unable to be notified.The observer kept driving until they were able to gain mobile telephone reception, where upon 000 was called and made contact with and they were put through to the fire section. A discussion ensued where upon the observer described the situation and his experience with the mountains and bushfire and forestry. There was some mention from the person spoken to that it may have been related to a fire last week?????

After this call some 15 minutes later, a member of the forestry contacted the observer on the mobile and again the situation was relayed as the position and potential.

The observer continued on his way to Tumut expecting to see RFS and Forestry fire fighting appliances in full tilt towards the fire. To the surprise and amazement of the observer, the only vehicle that he passed on the way to Tumut, and this was just out of Tumut, was a National Parks vehicle and this was some 30 plus minutes since the fire had been reported.

The fire itself when first noticed was at that time not into the blackberries, nor scrub of the pine forest, but it was made clear at the time of reporting that should this not be contained ASAP, once it got into this fuel load, all hell was going to break lose.

It is understood that the fire towers that over-looked this terrain were not manned until 10.00am, hence no sightings were noted from this unused resource. Given the extreme conditions, a question here has to be asked.

It is also apparent that it was hours before aerial attack in any form started and by 2.30pm, this fire in the Bondo State Forest was declared a section 44 bushfire. A bushfire that if not contained, will devastate the Goobragandra wilderness and destroy the National Parks from the Snowy Plain to the extremities of the ACT suburban fringe.

The Helicopter that is stationed in Canberra for just this wildfire response never even took to the skies until Monday morning. How effective is the Million dollar Charity company NAFC controlled by Foster and Koperberg performing?

On Monday morning a helicopter flying at the scene of the fire was advised to contact ground crew on State Forest Radio frequency, where upon the Chopper Pilot advised that he did not have the radio capability to do this. In other words another balls up in response tactics.

A balls up that has seen at least one fire crew and tanker advise fire-com via the radio that they are resigning from the RFS due to mismanagement and are returning all equipment and tanker to their fire shed. These experienced crew were so disgusted with management that they in frustration told fire-com in unprintable words where to get off.

It is becoming apparent to the lay observer that the experienced personnel that are required to direct and fight these horrific infernos have just about had all they can take. One by one they are just handing in their membership and all this while the Koperberg hierarchy live the well paid life at our Yellow Angels expense.

Every time we lose just one of these experienced ground fire fighting heroes, our young and inexperienced are that much closer to succumbing to the life threatening dangers of wildfire fighting in mountainous terrain. There is no substitute for experience and no amount of academic skill backed by incredibly costly aerial attack will change this one iota.

There needs to be change and change bloody quickly. Peter Canon of the VFFA has been fighting this
RFS Kastle administrative intransigence towards experience vs shoulder pip power and this resignation from
a fire front and the RFS proves conclusively that Peter Canon and the VFFA are the only bastion of sanity against the RFS hierarchy insanity and the time has come to
consider management at the RFS administration level with the VFFA being right there at the top level of this process.

Information on relay via SOS-Bush Telegraph – from Brumbyy (with 2Y’s) who is on the spot in the Snowy covering an assignment.

Read Section 44 here

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Where There’s Smoke

There’s Fire

For over 12 months we have been watching from the outside, and the inside, a company called “National Aerial Firefighting Centre Limited” which is located at Level 5, 340 Albert St, East Melbourne, Victoria, 3002.
Website: http://www.nafc.org.au/ . Not as good as it was 6 months ago.

We obtained documents from ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) that state NAFC was registered on 4th March 2004 and started business 11th August 2003.

The NAFC Headquarters East Melbourne hosted by government funding

The two directors mentioned as the principals, one being Philip Christian KOPERBERG born 28th April 1943, Amsterdam, Netherlands who is the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service and the other being Leonard Raymond FOSTER (Len Foster – pictured above) Chairman of the Victorian Country Fire Authority (among many other bodied and companies) and both are directors of the Bushfire CRC Limited that just happens to be registered at the same address as the NAFC in East Melbourne.

Being set-up to supply aircraft to the States and Territories bushfire services as a single point of contact and deployment make both of these people appropriate within this organisation.

From the following you may form your own opinion of this small part of the whole story our volunteer investigative journalists have presented.

In 2003 after the ACT bushfire, Len Foster (who is a solicitor among other hats he wears) chairman of the CFA tendered a submission to the Federal government to establish a national aerial firefighting organisation to deploy fire-fighting aircraft to bushfires around the nation that would be suitable for the requirements of individual fires and areas. He further suggested that this should not a government controlled department, or body and that it be a privatised to allow flexibility, etc, etc.

The timing was perfect, receiving the green light as government had the Snowy/ACT fire hanging over their heads and needed to look in the public eyes as if they were doing something, Ian Campbell MP announced funding of $16.5 million for the National Aerial Fire Fighting Centre ($5.5 million per annum for the three years 2004-05 to 2006-07). Now they are all cashed up and no government interference in the running of this very private public company.

Let us not forget the big dollar contributions states and territories make to NAFC hiring aerial bushfire fighting services over and above the Federal cash cow.

Again ASIC provided more information, along with a copy of the NAFC registered constitution, but alas, the financial auditors report had not been submitted at this time and not being a member we the people are not privy to the figures.

The initial Board of Directors 2004 – 2005:

Chairman:

    Mr Philip Koperberg, Commissioner, NSW Rural Fire Service

Secretary:

    Mr Leonard Foster, CEO, Australasian Fire Authorities Council

Directors:

    Mr Neil Bibby, CEO, Country Fire Authority of VictoriaMr Peter Dunn, Commissioner, ACT Emergency Services BureauMr Euan Ferguson, CEO, Country Fire Service of South AustraliaMr William Forbes, Executive Director, Fire & Emergency Services Authority of Western AustraliaMr John Gledhill, Chief Officer, Tasmania Fire ServiceMr Lee Johnson, Commissioner, Queensland Fire & Rescue Service

Independent Director:

    Mr Kevin O’Loughlin, CEO, Bushfire CRC

(This hardly constitutes he is independent when the Bushfire CRC company has Koperberg and Foster in the hierarchy as well – Keep that in mind as you read further)

The COMPANY & CONSTITUTION

Eligible Members: All Australian States and Territories (under schedule 3)
and application to join the NAFC is made in the form the board prescribes. All applications are considered by the board who in the absolute discretion. It also makes provision for any entity, which the board considers a benefit to the Company.

Now under section 5, it states that all income must be applied solely towards the promotion of the objects of the Company and no portion of it may be paid or transferred to members. It does however under section 5.3 allow members, officers, employee of the company, in return for any services rendered to the Company.

The office of Secretary will at ALL times be performed by the person who is the current Chief Executive Officer of the AFAC (Australian Fire Authority Council)

Now the directors of this organisation (see if any names ring a bell) are:

    .

Commissioner Phil Koperberg AO AFSM BEM (Vice-President) – New South Wales (NSW) Rural Fire Service;· Euan Ferguson (Treasurer) – South Australia (SA) Country Fire Service;· Mike Hall (Member) – New Zealand Fire Service· Lee Johnson AFSM (Member) – Queensland Fire and Rescue Service· Tony Blanks (Member) – Forestry Tasmania.

The CEO is none other that Len Foster. Because we do not have any in-depth copy of an account auditing, we are unable to glean what and whom may have been paid in accordance with these company’s constitutions.

Under section 18 it allows any director with a contract or interest with the Company (NAFC) are not liable to account to the Company for any profit realised ….. So with the books kept close to the chest within this private/public Company, but it is only opened to the Board of Directors – your guess is a good as any – but we may have more on this later as the rope is sure to tighten.

An interesting section is the provision in 8.4 – The non-receipt of a notice by or the accidental omission to give a notice to any of the members of any General Meeting will not invalidate any resolution passed at that meeting. Now what a tool to maintain control should disenchantment of the running of the Company be under question from concerned members who have no recourse.

SENATE RURAL AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS AND TRANSPORT LEGISLATION COMMITTEE ESTIMATES – FRIDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2005 – CANBERRASenator O’BRIEN: It recommends in 8.6 that the Commonwealth maintain leadership of support for the National Aerial Firefighting Centre for a further three years until the bushfire cooperative research centre has finalised its research into the effectiveness of aerial suppression operations. Where are we on that and what is the department’s role?Mr Doherty: Our role is to administer the funding as a contribution. The terms of the recommendation have been met in that funding has been allocated for the next three financial years at $5.5 million a year to support the National Aerial Firefighting Centre. Again, by the nature of the recommendation, it looks forward to further work by the bushfire CRC. There will be further thinking about aerial firefighting approaches down the track.Who is on the board of the Bushfire CRC – and the “Cash Cow Government” are awaiting recommendations from
WHOM?

 CONCLUSION

Our lengthy inquiry has opened avenues that required a dedicated database to contain the paper trails and whistleblower information not mentioning inside contacts which now require a full blown flow chart construction that is being undertaken by an off-shore volunteer who is now custodian of our only copy of the database. From this curtain raiser we have published you may glean what may be a government funded junket that is accountable to themselves and auditors they appoint and it would seem that the initial auditors have already been replaced according to ASIC data.There are many companies registered to the Albert Street, East Melbourne address all Bushfire related and operate out of the same office as NAFC. The same names keep appearing on the list of CEO’s and Directors of bushfire related Companies who feed off State and Federal funding in the MILLIONS of $$$$.Should we dare to ask “has the government looked at the books as keepers of the public purse being our tax dollars”?

It further seems that to appease the public concern with the bushfire infernos being out of control all over the place, fuelled by bureaucratic bungling and government myth-management, these non-monitored millions are funding air-shows to media, used for front page hype to appease their government masters while the millions of bucks fade away from view.

Form your own opinion from these few facts as to what the big picture will turn up and I hope to bring it in graphic detail to your attention. Years of experience tells us that government inquiries only start if the outcome is known first – Law Enforcement are there to appease their boss, the government – but the positive result is to reveal the whole story from evidence gathered over 12 months which is terrifying the government that you the people will know what they do not want you to know.

To those who think removing or disguising accessible data – the best time to do that was “Last year”

Epilogue

An extract from this public document – Tuesday, 29 July 2003 HOUSE of REPS BUSHFIRES INQUIRY – HANSARD BUSHFIRES – (name of person testifying we have withheld is Australia’s most qualified bushfire advisor)

Mr ********

    -Yes, I shall. I believe the federal government in itself has dropped the ball.It has dropped the ball because there is no federal agency or part of the federal government that takes an interest in the bushfire situation in Australia. I was at the Bureau of Meteorology head office; I had nobody to talk to at the Commonwealth government level. Interest from overseas would come in. It would come in probably to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. It would go to CSIRO, who would declare the national policy.Now it comes in and it goes to the Australian Fire Authority Council. There are two individuals in Australia-who I call the Murdoch and Packer of the fire situation-who now, behind the scenes, have almost total control of the whole situation. The federal government has got to establish high quality interest in thisarea. Thank you.

CHAIR-

    Do you want to name the two people?

Mr ********

    -Am I protected?

CHAIR-

    You are protected by parliamentary privilege.

Mr ********

Mr Koperberg and Mr Len Foster

    .

If you care to read the whole report go to this web address http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/reps/commttee/R6743.pdf – – – read page 41 for the whole story mentioned above.

And from a page on the Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) is this reference to Len Foster AO, LLB, BA, Bed:

As CEO of AFAC he has been instrumental in increasing its influence and standing as a national peak body. AFAC is now recognised by Federal Government, other peak bodies and private companies as being able to bring a co-ordinated, agreed national position to most issues quickly and effectively.

If this is the case, why are the Eastern States of Australia having its public lands incinerated? And Pleeaassssee do not tell us it’s the drought.

What do you THINK?

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