Morwell CFA

My question is to the Minister for Emergency Services. Volunteers with the Morwell fire brigade are staunchly opposed to Labor’s plan to force them to relocate to a new site as a tenant of FRV. In a letter sent to you, the volunteers say they face a hostile environment with FRV staff that is affecting: … the operational capability of both the staff and volunteers on the fire ground, which is only a detriment to the Morwell community … Minister, why are you putting Morwell residents at risk by refusing the request of the volunteers to remain at their current station?

Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria—Leader of the Government, Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:30): I thank Ms Bath for her question, and of course we are proud to have delivered a brand new fire station for the community of Morwell. In relation to the issues that you raise, I understand that the issues are being worked through with the agencies. Both FRV and CFA have raised this matter with me, and they continue to work together and will work with the volunteers. But in relation to the correspondence you referred to, I have not seen that. I will have a look for that, because I would certainly like to respond and give them an update that I have been advised of this issue and that the parties are working together on a solution.

Ms BATH (Eastern Victoria) (12:31): Minister, as a supplementary, Moe CFA volunteers have a separate station at Latrobe West, separate to Latrobe West career firefighters. Eltham CFA volunteers have a separate station to Eltham’s career firefighters. Morwell volunteers have told you that if you proceed with this plan ‘Morwell Fire Brigade will … cease to exist’. Minister, in light of their warnings to you, will you now meet with the Morwell volunteers to explain to them why you do not care if they no longer exist?

Ms SYMES (Northern Victoria—Leader of the Government, Attorney-General, Minister for Emergency Services) (12:32): That is pretty loaded, Ms Bath. I just informed you that I have not even received that letter yet. Ms Bath: It’s not a new issue. Ms SYMES: No, it is not a new issue, but I have just explained to you that the parties are working through this together. We have got a specific body that works through issues such as this, and I encourage parties to stay at the table and keep talking.