CFA – Trafalgar and Westbury Brigades

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (22:27): Thank you, newly elected President. I am really pleased to see you in the chair. It will be absolutely delightful to have you there.

I raise a matter for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, the Honourable Lisa Neville in the other place. It relates particularly to two CFA volunteer brigades in my electorate of Eastern Victoria Region, and those would be Westbury and Trafalgar. Trafalgar brigade would like to raise their concerns in relation to impending changes to their emergency service call and response boundary soon to be introduced in Parliament. For 93 years Trafalgar has been an amazing volunteer brigade and has proudly served its community, averaging at present between 120 and 140 call-outs per year, and Trafalgar meets all of its service delivery standard, SDS, response times 100 per cent of the time. Sitting above Moe in a lovely rural setting, Westbury fire brigade receives approximately 45 call-outs per year and also meets 100 per cent of its response times.

Both brigades are highly concerned that their current area of operation and response footprint will be diminished and compromised with the expansion of the Latrobe West footprint, to be endorsed, supposedly, by this Parliament some time in August. Both brigade captains have communicated with me via email, and other members from Eastern Victoria Region have as well. Also I have had a conversation with both of the captains this evening, and I thank them for their time and explaining the situation. Both feel that service delivery will be compromised. Both feel that this is a preemptive strike, with a lack of proper communication. They feel that when the Latrobe West temporary brigade changes, the footprint again could change, and they are just concerned that there has been a lack of consultation and there has been a lack of consideration of the impacts on not just their brigades but the people in their area, their community and their towns. They feel that there could be a loss of knowledge, a loss of capability and a loss of understanding of landmarks and relationships through this change, and they feel quite frustrated that there has not been an appropriate level of consultation.

So my action for the minister for emergency services is that she actually meets with Westbury and Trafalgar fire station captains and associated members, has a proper communication with them so that they can explain this situation, and puts the brakes on in terms of this expansion to make sure that their concerns and issues are addressed.