The Nationals are calling for country Victorians to share their ideas for the future of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) that will help to rebuild and restore it as an independent, volunteer-based, autonomous fire service.
The CFA was split in two on July 1 after Daniel Andrews’ long, divisive dispute that will now see CFA operational staff seconded from Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV).
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh was in Morwell today with volunteer firefighters and Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath to launch www.yoursayonthecfa.com.au – a website giving a voice to volunteers, brigades and country people.
“CFA volunteers selflessly serve our country communities when we need it most, but they’ve been silenced by Labor during its destructive campaign to destroy the CFA,” Mr Walsh said.
“If The Nationals are elected to government in 2022, we’ll work with Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) and CFA brigades across the state to restore and rebuild the CFA to fix the damage done by Daniel Andrews.
“Within the first 100 days of government, we’ll introduce legislation to restore the independence of the CFA by giving it the power to select, recruit and manage its own staff who wear the CFA uniform – not the uniform of FRV.
“The CFA is an iconic and trusted part of regional communities and The Nationals will make restoring its independence a priority.”
An independent Commissioner for Emergency Services Volunteers will also be appointed with the power to investigate issues raised by volunteers and to arbitrate outcomes.
Ms Bath added that further reform of the CFA Act would see all CFA Board members required to sign up to, and be bound by, the Volunteer Charter.
“This is common sense reform that will bring the CFA together behind our volunteers,” Ms Bath said.
“Daniel Andrews betrayed our firefighters by handing unprecedented power over the volunteer service to Peter Marshall and the militant United Firefighters Union (UFU).
“Volunteers are gutted by Labor’s betrayal.
“I want all our local volunteers in the Latrobe Valley and across Gippsland to know they have The Nationals’ full support.”
Community members can share ideas to rebuild and restore our CFA at www.yoursayonthecfa.com.au