Emergency Services | June 07, 2019

Local volunteers blocked from having their say on CFA Bill

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is incensed that Daniel Andrews is pushing ahead with his plan to tear apart the CFA by using Labor’s numbers in Parliament to gag debate and pass his divisive Bill through the lower house this week.

“The Andrews Government shut down consultation with local communities and allowed just one day for debate before forcing its CFA Bill to a vote in the Legislative Assembly,” Ms Kealy said.

“It is unacceptable that Labor continues to gag anyone who wants to speak out against their plans to destroy fire services as we know it in Victoria.

“You only have to look back over time to see what has happened to anyone who has dared to speak out against Labor’s fire services reforms. CFA CEOs Lucinda Nolan and Peter Rau spoke out – they got sacked. The CFA Board spoke out – they got sacked. Labor’s own former Minister for Emergency Services spoke out – she was sacked.

“Now Labor have gagged 15 Nationals and Liberal MPs including myself from putting the concerns of local CFA volunteers on the record. It’s a disgrace.

“Time and time again we are seeing the same behaviour from the Andrews Labor government who is hell-bent on destroying the CFA and refusing to allow local volunteers a chance to be consulted and have their say.

“I have 110 CFA volunteer-only brigades in Lowan who are deeply concerned that Labor’s Bill does not provide for fair and equal presumptive cancer compensation for volunteers.

“We should see exactly the same equal and fair access to presumptive cancer compensation for volunteers as we see for career firefighters and Labor’s Bill does not deliver on that.

“The Liberal Nationals introduced a Bill for presumptive cancer rights into the Parliament in May 2018, but Daniel Andrews and Labor voted this Bill down.

“Volunteers are exposed to the the same fire, same smoke, and therefore have the same cancer risk as paid firefighters, but Labor’s legislation has different access to presumptive cancer compensation depending on whether you volunteer or are paid for your efforts. It’s wrong.

“Labor has shut down the voice of our CFA volunteers by refusing to consult with them on this flawed legislation that will reduce the number of CFA volunteers in Victoria and impact on community safety.”

Since Daniel Andrews was elected in 2014, more than 3,500 volunteers have left Victoria’s CFA.

“We need our local volunteers and the tens of thousands of others across the state to protect our homes, families and communities and to provide vital surge capacity at our times of greatest need,” Ms Kealy said.

“The Nationals will always stand up for our CFA volunteers and we will keep fighting against Labor’s disgraceful and divisive legislation on their behalf to ensure they get the respect they deserve.”

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