CFA boundaries under threat from Labor’s CFA Bill

Members Statement Hansard Extract: 20 June 2017

This statement condemns the Andrews government’s astonishing plan to hand over fully volunteer Country Fire Authority (CFA) stations to the new Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) service by giving a hand-picked panel the power to alter metropolitan fire service boundaries.

The Minister for Emergency Services advised me last Friday, 16 June, that the government is:

… restoring the CFA to a fully volunteer firefighter organisation …

He also stated that in the event of a boundary change Fire Rescue Victoria staff would, and I quote:

… be brought in — to supplement the existing and continuing CFA volunteer service.

The minister cannot have it both ways. It is impossible for the CFA to be fully volunteer and also supplemented by the FRV at the same time. Labor are in fact scrapping the current integrated model and preparing for FRV control — not just supplements — over what were once fully volunteer CFA brigades. The great strength of the CFA is that volunteers are protecting their own local communities, yet once an area becomes FRV volunteers will be sidelined in their own stations. No matter how highly ranked, skilled or experienced volunteers are, they will answer to paid staff. When their equipment and assets, which are paid for by local fundraising, are seized by the government and passed over to FRV, will they continue to put their hands up to help, or will they take their considerable experience and training to organisations that appreciate their contribution?