The Andrews Labor Government has continued to wage its war on volunteer firefighters, this time by cutting funding to the regular Firewise newsletter, a key communication tool for CFA brigades and members across the state.
The Nationals MP for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath said the funding cut to the newsletter was the latest attack by Daniel Andrews on the CFA and its volunteers.
Firewise is the publication of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV), the member organisation for CFA members.
“On its website, the CFA proclaims that VFBV is the ‘voice of CFA volunteers’,” Ms Bath said.
“It’s pretty clear that Daniel Andrews doesn’t want CFA volunteers having a voice, so he’s seen to that.”
“In the December issue of Firewise, VFBV chief executive Andrew Ford says the cut was made with ‘no explanation of the logic, no consultation with volunteers and no regard of what it means for volunteers…’.”
“That is Daniel Andrews all over,” Ms Bath continued.
“The annual grant of $60,000 which enabled publication of Firewise represents outstanding value for money for such an important communication tool.”
“This vindictive act is yet another example of the Andrews Labor Government riding roughshod over CFA volunteers.”
Yallourn North Brigade Captain Mark King said Firewise played an important role in fostering a positive CFA culture.
“I am extremely disappointed that Firewise funding has been withdrawn,” Mr King said.
“The publication is well-utilised by the volunteers as a positive means of communication to highlight brigade issues such as recognition of achievements, life service awards, gold and national medals and the like. It was an avenue to boost morale.”
Ms Bath said the support for a Royal Commission from VFBV had drawn a quick reaction from Daniel Andrews.
“The Liberal/Nationals coalition has promised a Royal Commission into Victoria’s fire services should we be elected to government in 2018,” Ms Bath added.
“Volunteer Fire Brigades backed our commitment to a Royal Commission in Firewise. A matter of days later, the funding for Firewise is cut. There couldn’t be a more cynical move against the voice of CFA members.”
“The Liberal/National coalition is committed to giving CFA volunteers a voice through a Royal Commission, and through the VFBV newsletter. We will absolutely restore the funding to Firewise should we be elected next year.”