Emergency Services Volunteers | July 01, 2020

Nationals pledge to make CFA autonomous

The Nationals in government will legislate to rebuild and restore the Country Fire Authority as an independent, volunteer-based autonomous fire service.

That’s the pledge given by The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy today as the Andrews Government rams through its divisive changes to Victoria’s fire services.

The Nationals have also promised to establish a Volunteer Commissioner to independently hear and arbitrate on disputes.

“Daniel Andrews is tearing the CFA apart. Labor has paved the way for Peter Marshall and the United Firefighters Union (UFU) to take over the CFA,” Ms Kealy said.

“From today, the union effectively has control of the CFA. A panel dominated by UFU members is responsible for appointing FRV staff to run the CFA, sidelining the CFA’s chief fire officer and silencing volunteers.

“Volunteers are gutted by Labor’s betrayal but I want the men and women who selflessly serve our communities through the CFA to know that we value them and we value their work.

“Labor is treating volunteers like dirt under their shoes. If The Nationals are elected in 2022, that will change.

“If The Nationals are in government, we will work with volunteers and brigades across the state to rebuild and restore the CFA.

“This will include repealing provisions of Labor’s disastrous legislation which undermines the capacity of the CFA to function as an independent, autonomous fire service and enshrining in law the power for the CFA to select, recruit and manage its own staff.

“We will also ensure that CFA staff wear the CFA uniform and we will require the CFA board to sign up to the Volunteers’ Charter, which was legislated in 2012.

“The charter was designed to protect the rights of volunteers, but the board is not bound by it and the experience of the past five years has shown that this Labor Government just sacks anyone who gets in their way.”

Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said CFA volunteers had been pushed out by a militant union and a Premier who doesn’t have their back.

“Country Victorians want to see the CFA reinstated and we will do just that,’ Mr Walsh said.

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