Emergency Services | June 27, 2017

CFA bill to face inquiry after faltering in Parliament

Legislation that volunteer firefighters fear will tear apart the Country Fire Authority has been sent to a parliamentary committee for consultation after it failed to receive enough support to pass Parliament’s Legislative Council.

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy said the outcome was a win for volunteers from across the region.

“This whole saga has had an enormous toll on volunteers from across the Lowan electorate who have been fighting to stop the bill,” Ms Kealy said.

“We owe a lot to the tireless efforts of volunteers from right across Victoria in raising concerns about Daniel Andrews’ proposal to split the fire services.

“The government did its best to ram the legislation through without consultation with CFA volunteers but in the end, thanks to pressure from The Nationals, Liberals and crossbench MPs, Labor realised it didn’t have enough votes to pass the bill,” she said.

Ms Kealy said she has had many conversations with individual volunteers from across the electorate in recent weeks about the bill.

“Many are deeply concerned that the government has broken the CFA volunteers’ charter through its refusal to consult with them on the legislation before it was introduced.

“There are also grave concerns about the damage it will do to the surge capacity of the CFA, exposing us in the event of a large fire.

“The committee process will provide our local volunteers with an opportunity to give evidence and raise concerns about the impact of legislation, so I am very pleased it has been sent for further investigation by a parliamentary committee.

“I look forward to further details of this inquiry becoming available and encourage all concerned residents and local CFA brigade members to express their concerns through a submission,” she said.

The committee will report its findings by August 8.

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