Reforms to further improve CFA
• Legislation to modernise CFA Board membership requirements
• Changes will improve and strengthen skills of CFA Board
• Coalition Government committed to protecting Victoria
A Bill introduced to Parliament will strengthen and modernise the membership requirements of the Board of the Country Fire Authority (CFA).
“The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to reforming the State’s emergency management arrangements to ensure a more resilient and safer Victoria,” Mr Wells said.
“It is vital that the CFA Board has a strong volunteer expertise, knowledge and an understanding of CFA volunteerism as well as a pool of emergency and land management skills and experience.
“The Justice Legislation Amendment Bill will amend the CFA Act including ensuring the CFA Board has a stronger and more diverse range of skills.
“In particular, the reforms will provide the CFA Board with more skills, knowledge and experience in commercial, technical, operational, legal or financial matters, and fire or emergency management, as well as land management,” Mr Wells said.
“The Bill also recognises the crucial role played by CFA volunteers, retaining the existing arrangement that requires four of the Board’s members to be appointed from a panel of names nominated by Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria.
“This is about building CFA’s capability to enable it to continue to serve and protect Victorians and ensure it is better positioned to meet the challenges of the future.”
Mr Wells said the Bill also makes a number of minor amendments to emergency management legislation including clarifying the obligations of municipal councils to include the location of community fire refuges in their emergency management plans, and ensuring that forest industry brigades can continue to support the CFA in both fire suppression and prevention.
Mr Wells said that since coming to office, the Coalition Government has invested significantly in fire services providing the CFA with funding of more than $1.84 billion.
“The Coalition Government’s budget for fire services is higher than in any year under Labor and increased again in the 2013-2014 budget. The CFA Budget for 2013-2014 is $446 million, which is $47 million more than under the last Labor Government budget,” Mr Wells said.
Mr Wells said the Coalition Government greatly valued the vital work performed by CFA, one of the world’s largest volunteer organisations, with more than 55,000 operational and non-operational volunteers.