National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism,Immigration and Human Rights

Jenny Ashby
Jenny Ashby & Associates Pty Ltd

Sharon Landers
Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, Melbourne

The Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board Case Study ­ The cultural change of an organisation.

Fire Safety is a concern for all people living in Australia, one of the most fire prone areas of the world. The Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFESB) has a Fire Safety Education Strategy for people of non-English speaking backgrounds (1997) to better communicate fire safety messages to ethnic communities in Melbourne.
In October 1999, the Australian Multicultural Foundation (AMF) commenced a Partnership Project with the MFESB's Community Education Department.
The Project involved:
An audit of the organisation in relation to the Strategy's implementation (this comprised internal interviews / workshops and external focus groups - Muslim women, ethnic elderly club's representatives, and ethnic leaders from the Eritrean, Turkish, Spanish & Arabic speaking communities)
Developing a Communications Strategy
Employment of a Multicultural Liaison Officer (part time for six months) in the Community Education Department to assist with implementing Audit findings.
As part of the Project the AMF Project Team (Hass Dellal and Jenny Ashby) have briefed the Board, Executive, Middle Management and operational staff on the Audit Report Findings. This has provided a framework within which the MFESB has endorsed an Access and Equity Policy and commenced working on a Cultural Diversity Strategy.

Bionote: Jenny Ashby
In 1990, Jenny Ashby began working as an Ethnic Advocacy Officer within the Home and Community Care Program with a specific brief to establish Consumer Forums for the elderly, with particular emphasis on participation by older people from non-English speaking backgrounds. This work is documented in "Together we decide: a manual for consulting with elderly people", 1992.

Jenny's work in local government has included developing the Multicultural Policy for Fitzroy City Council; developing the Access and Equity Policy for Brimbank City Council; developing business networks with Traders Associations and Chambers of Commerce; and facilitating workplace change as a Compulsory Competitive Tendering Training Co-ordinator at the City of Sunshine.

Since 1996, Jenny Ashby has operated a consultancy service undertaking over 35 projects with local government; community organisations (including Migrant Resource Centres); public sector organisations (such as The Royal Women's Hospital); and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care. She has done significant work in the area of consumer feedback and consultation; Community needs analysis, and auditing local Council on the implementation of Access and Equity Policies.

She currently works as a consultant with the Australian Multicultural Foundation, particularly on the partnership project involving workplace / organisational change with the Melbourne Fire and Emergency Services Board in Melbourne.
Bionote: Sharon Landers
Sharon Landers has had a varied career focused on education spanning the last twenty years. With a Bachelor and Masters of Education, Sharon started her career by teaching English and French in a number of metropolitan and country high schools and adult centres.

Sharon joined the Community Education Department of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1993 on secondment from the Education Department and subsequently took on full time employment as the Brigade's Public Education Officer.

Sharon has responsibility for the Brigade's highly successful FIRE ED, Primary Schools Fire Safety Education Program, which sees firefighters visiting over 600 primary schools and 70,000 children annually and RETIRE ED, a program which involves retired firefighters promoting fire safety among retired groups.

In 1997, Sharon wrote the Brigade's "Fire Safety Education Strategy for People of Non-English Speaking Backgrounds". She oversaw the development of "Flames, Better English Through Fire Safety", a joint educational initiative between the MFB and Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES) and has been the Brigade's Project Manager for Safe at Home, a joint initiative of the MFB and the Royal Children's Hospital Safety Centre.

Sharon has been promoting fire safety for people of non-English speaking backgrounds throughout the Brigade for the past five years by organising cultural awareness training for firefighters, supporting the Brigade's NAATI Language Aides, organising activities and lectures for various multicultural groups and representing the Brigade at numerous multicultural networks.

Sharon is also a member of the Executive of the Victorian Safe Communities Network, the Australian Injury Prevention Network and the Australasian Evaluation Society.

Presentation Type
30 min paper

University of Technology, Sydney, 1-2 December 2000

Papers & Workshops