Future of funding for CFA tankers

 EXTRACT FROM PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES HANSARD 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

CONSTITUENCY QUESTIONS – Rowville electorate

Mr WELLS (Rowville) — (Question 7073) The constituency question I wish to raise is for the attention of the Minister for Emergency Services. A number of constituents in the Rowville electorate who happen to also be Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers have raised serious concerns with me in relation to the CFA’s vehicle replacement program.

Volunteers advised that while 12 medium tankers for CFA volunteer brigades have been funded this year and a commitment was made for the funding of 10 additional medium tankers for each of the next five years, they have now been told that future funding for medium tankers has been reallocated to other projects including the funding of new pumpers at career‑staffed stations.

I therefore ask the minister on behalf of my constituents if it is true that the minister is now reneging on a funding commitment to volunteer brigades for vitally important new medium tankers and whether she can confirm that this funding has been reallocated to funding pumpers at career‑staffed brigades as a political payback by the Andrews Labor government to the United Firefighters Union for its deceitful support of Victorian Labor at the 2014 state election.

 Answer given: 5th May 2016

The Victorian Government is committed to preserving the great volunteer tradition of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and greatly respects and values the work of volunteers in our communities. Volunteers including CFA volunteers play a vital role in protecting the people of Victoria from all manner of disasters. The government recognises the importance of volunteering in building strong communities.

As at January 2016, the CFA Fire Appliance Fleet total was 2,335, including tankers, pumpers and specialist vehicles that are both Authority and Brigade owned. The 2015-16 budget provides $33.5 million for the purchase of 70 new firefighting vehicles which includes 20 medium tankers, 40 heavy tankers and 10 medium pumpers. This exceeds our election commitment to provide 50 trucks in the first budget.

 The CFA has responsibility for its own operational matters, including the delivery of fire appliances to its brigades whether they are volunteer only or career-staffed. However, I am advised that funding has not been reallocated to fund new pumpers at career-staffed brigades.

Jane Garrett MP

Minister for Emergency Services