Opposition, volunteers air concerns over State Government’s CFA reform bill

Local fire fighters have been left less than impressed with legislation set to drastically change the way paid and volunteer fire brigades operate.

The Andrews Government introduced the Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2019 into parliament last week which is set to provide “overdue” reforms to the state’s fire service.

The bill would see the CFA become a completely volunteer- based organisation while a new organisation, Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV), would be created for career firefighters.

It would see the end of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade and CFA professionals, with all career firefighters working together for FRV.

It would also provide presumptive rights to cancer compensation for career and volunteer firefighters, which will apply to individuals who

have served as firefighters for a specified number of years, depend- ing on the cancer type, and have been diagnosed since June 1, 2016.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville said the government is making sure Victoria has the fire service it deserves.

“We made a commitment at the last election to reform our fire services and ensure our career and volunteer firefighters are supported in keeping the community safe, and that’s exactly what we’re delivering,” she said.

However, volunteer fire brigades have been left disappointed with the bill.

Maryborough Fire Brigade captain Darryl Wagstaff said the CFA model is admired “around the world” for its performance and flexibility.

“There’s no need to rip the CFA apart to fix any issues we have, we can fix it without it being destroyed,” he said.

For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Tuesday, June 11

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