Daniel Andrews succeeded this week in his plan to tear apart our CFA, with the support of Labor’s members for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes and Mark Gepp.
After years of war on our CFA volunteers, the Andrews Labor Government’s destructive CFA Bill passed the Legislative Council last night, with support of Labor MPs, the Greens and the Animal Justice Party.
It will see the CFA stripped of its paid staff, which will be moved into the new Fire Rescue Victoria and seconded back to the CFA, with approval from a union-controlled board.
Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said it was devastating news for local volunteers with the union also being given a controlling stake in decisions on surge capacity, resourcing and budget allocations for the CFA.
“It’s a dark day for our CFA volunteers and the regional communities they protect,” Mr Walsh said.
“Our local CFA volunteers have been outspoken in their opposition to Daniel Andrews’ destructive plan, but still Northern Victoria’s Labor representatives went against what our community wanted.
“By voting for this Bill Jaclyn Symes and Mark Gepp have sold out local volunteers and our community for a sweetheart pay back deal that destroys the CFA and delivers control of it to the union.”
The Andrews Labor Government deliberately tied its divisive CFA Bill to a Bill granting presumptive rights to firefighters who develop cancer as a result of their work.
But although career firefighters will get it as a right, volunteers will have to prove they fought enough fires to be eligible – but that number’s yet to be defined.
Mr Walsh said volunteers must be treated fairly.
“I support presumptive rights for volunteer and career firefighters,” Mr Walsh said.
“But twice, The Nationals introduced a standalone presumptive rights bill to Parliament and twice the Andrews Labor Government voted against it.
“Daniel Andrews has trashed decades of tradition and volunteerism all to pay back his union mates.
“Country communities will never forget what Daniel Andrews has done to the CFA and The Nationals will keep fighting to make sure our volunteers get a fair go and our communities are protected in times of emergency.”