Labor targets CFA again with boundary changes

Labor’s Police and Emergency Management Amendment Bill 2020 diminishing the emergency response operations of Westbury and Trafalgar CFA volunteer brigades has passed through State Parliament.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victorian Region, Melina Bath said the Andrews Labor Government reneged on its obligation that any fire services boundary changes would be determined by an independent panel.

“Once again the Andrews Labor Government has disregarded the valid arguments of our valued CFA volunteers,” said Ms Bath.

“Despite being set down in statute that the State Government must consult before any modifications are made to CFA/FRV boundaries, Labor has rammed through detrimental changes in a communications vacuum.

These changes now expand the primary area of FRV’s Latrobe West brigade, relegating the Trafalgar and Westbury CFA.

Ms Bath opposed the amendments saying Labor’s boundary changes will significantly disadvantage Westbury and Trafalgar CFA brigades by diminishing their primary callout area.

“Outrageously, Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville appears determined to make these brigades redundant by limiting their operations, with no net benefit to community safety,” said Ms Bath.

“The Andrews Labor Government expects to call on these volunteers, in times of bushfires crisis to provide surge capacity and join strike teams, but brutally ignores their sensible pleas for survival.

“Once again we see Labor pandering to the demands of the UFU, rather than protecting community-based volunteer CFA brigades in regional Victoria.”

“It is contemptable that neither Westbury nor Trafalgar CFA brigades have had any meaningful and true consultation.

“Changing Westbury and Trafalgar’s boundaries provides no net benefit to the local community, with both brigades achieving 100% compliance with expected call out times.

Despite The Nationals and Liberals attempting to remove this section of the Bill, Labor rammed through the legislation, with the help of a handful of cross-bench MPs.

Ms Bath said these changes have nothing to do with safety and everything to do with continuing Labor’s dismantling of our volunteer fire service in Victoria.

“It is time the Andrews Labor Government removed its foot from the throats of our volunteer CFA and worked to protect and support the service,” Ms Bath said.