Emergency Services | August 22, 2016

Kealy welcomes Federal safeguards for CFA

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP has welcomed the Federal Coalition Government’s plan to introduce legislation to protect the CFA against Labor’s destructive enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).

The Respect for Emergency Services Volunteers Bill will be introduced in the first sitting of Federal Parliament and will move to protect the role of volunteer firefighters and the power of the Chief Fire Office.

The move comes as the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) prepare to challenge the current EBA in the Supreme Court over the legality of veto clauses which transfers power from the CFA’s chief fire officer to the United Firefighters Union (UFU).

Ms Kealy said the legislation would ensure any EBA that affects emergency service volunteers, including the State Emergency Service, will not restrict volunteers from doing what they do best – protecting Victorian families.

“This legislation will make it more difficult for Daniel Andrews to put the demands of the United Firefighters Union ahead of the interests of volunteers,” Ms Kealy said.

“I particularly thank my Federal Nationals colleagues Damian Drum, Darren Chester, Bridget McKenzie and Andrew Broad who I know have been advocating strongly for this legislation,” she said.

Ms Kealy said the Federal Government’s legislation would require all EBAs to comply with state legislation.

“The Federal Government’s legislation will prevent Daniel Andrews from contravening the CFA Act 1958 which protects CFA volunteerism,” Ms Kealy said.

“It is a sad day when our CFA volunteers have to rely on the intervention of the Federal Government to give them the respect they deserve,” she said.

The CFA issue again dominated the Victorian Parliament last week, with Daniel Andrews facing questions about his failure to condemn allegations of bullying by UFU chief Peter Marshall.

“Our local CFA volunteers are there when we need them most. We will not allow Daniel Andrews to trample over them so that he can pay his political debts,” Ms Kealy said.

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