Emergency Services | December 09, 2016

Labor votes against bill to protect CFA volunteers

Labor MPs have voted down the Liberal-Nationals Coalition’s efforts to introduce a bill into Parliament to protect the rights of CFA volunteers.

The Country Fire Authority Amendment (Protecting CFA Volunteers) Bill sought to enshrine the rights of Victorian firefighters’ in legislation.

“The bill would have compelled the CFA and the board, which the Premier has hand-picked, to comply with the volunteers’ charter,” Ms Kealy said.

“This would have stopped the CFA from entering into any agreement or arrangement that could have an adverse effect on the interests of volunteer officers and members under the volunteers’ charter,” she said.

Ms Kealy said the United Firefighters Union (UFU) had tried to bully the CFA into signing a common law deed that would force through key clauses in the proposed enterprise bargaining agreement.

Labor MPs continued to make slurs against volunteers and the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria in the last Question Time for the year yesterday where Daniel Andrews would not rule out doing a side deal with the UFU to give them precedence over volunteers.

“The Nationals in a future Coalition Government would not honour any deeds which harmed CFA volunteers,” Ms Kealy said.

“We have given the government fair warning that if they seek to sign deeds that harm volunteers, we will not honour them if we are elected to government.

“It is a blatant move to avoid the scrutiny of both Commonwealth and Victorian law.

“The Andrews Labor Government’s attack on volunteers has left the CFA heading into a dangerous summer fire season with the dispute still unresolved.

“When Daniel Andrews sacked the board 177 days ago he said that he had ended the dispute. Clearly that was a lie.

“I have full faith in our local brigades that they will do their utmost to defend our communities but they should not have to go into a dangerous summer fire season with this dispute hanging over their heads because the government does not respect or value their work,” she said.

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