Emergency Services | March 18, 2019

Western Victoria at risk due to Daniel Andrews’ war on the CFA

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy says that western Victoria is now more at risk from bushfires because of Daniel Andrews’ war on the CFA and its impact on local planned burning operations.

Prescribed burns by the CFA are critically important to keep the community safe from out of control bushfires.

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission found that “prescribed burning is one of the main tools for fire management on public land”.

But in Parliament recently, Daniel Andrews dodged questions about a letter from the CFA linking his failure to do enough planned burning due to the loss of thousands of CFA volunteers.

A recent letter to all CFA volunteers from the Project Manager of the CFA’s ‘Planned Burning Taskforce Pilot’ stated: “CFA’s capacity to undertake planned burning has been restricted by a lack of volunteer numbers.”

“The most recent CFA Annual Report reveals that there were 3,749 fewer operational volunteers in June 2018 than in June 2014,” Ms Kealy said.

“This is the report the Andrews Labor Government refused to release before the election and then attempted to hide tabling it at 5 pm in the week before Christmas.

“Our brave firefighters risk their lives to protect us from deadly bushfires which is why it’s so important that we protect those that protect us.

“Since Daniel Andrews became Premier the number of operational volunteer firefighters has plummeted from 38,335 in 2014 to 34,586 in 2018. 

“This is 3,749 less operational firefighters available to conduct planned burning and a huge reduction in the surge capacity to protect Victorians.

“These are the real consequences of Daniel Andrews’ war on CFA volunteers that is now putting western Victoria at risk.

“Daniel Andrews needs to act immediately to end this war and hand back control to the CFA.”

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