Emergency Services | August 04, 2016

Kealy - CFA dispute far from fixed

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP says the CFA dispute is far from over as uncertainty and tension within Victoria’s fire services heightens, in the lead-up to fire season.

“Daniel Andrews and James Merlino say they have fixed the dispute, but in reality all they have done is squashed all opposition to the proposed CFA agreement,” Ms Kealy said.

“Daniel Andrews has either sacked or forced the resignation of those who dare to offer an adverse view of this contentious EBA and one wonders who will be next,” she said.

The CFA dispute was a key concern raised with Ms Kealy at Hamilton’s Sheepvention this week, where she was joined by Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie and Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh.

"About 1,000 people showed their strong support for the CFA by signing a petition promoted by the Nationals, sending a clear message to the Premier to keep his hands of the CFA,” Ms Kealy said.

“We now have about 4,000 signatures and it is clear that our local people still hold great concern about the real possibility of the Country Fire Authority being run by a militant Melbourne-based union,” she said.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV), the representative for volunteers in the CFA dispute, expressed concerns at a parliamentary inquiry into fire season preparedness this week that negotiations had ‘diminished’ Victoria’s fire system preparedness and response capability.

VFBV chief executive Andrew Ford told the inquiry Daniel Andrews failed to seek a meeting with the organisation at any point in the negotiations phase and that they had just one 30 minute meeting with Hon. James Merlino since he was appointed to the Emergency Services ministry.

“This is far from over and the Nationals will continue to stand with volunteers to make sure their concerns are heard,” Ms Kealy said.

“I urge anyone who supports the invaluable work of the CFA to sign a petition through my website www.emmakealy.com or phone my office on 5382 0097 and a hardcopy can be posted out,” she said.

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