Local CFA volunteers angered as fire services reform changes come into effect

CFA volunteer firefighters, including Maryborough Fire Brigadeʼs Sam Rothman, Troy Bursill, Peter Higgins and captain Darryl Wagstaff are unhappy with changes made to the States Governmentʼs fire service
reforms, which they say were made without consultation.

Local CFA volunteers have expressed frustration and anger at “broken promises” and reforms made without consultation ahead of the launch of Victoria’s new emergency service, Fire Rescue Victoria — a controversial merger of the CFA and Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

The Andrews Government’s Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2019, which sought to provide reforms to the state’s fire service, passed the parliament in June last year.

The reforms will see the CFA become a completely volunteer-based organisation while a new organisation, Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV), will be made up of Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and CFA firefighters and service metropolitan Melbourne and major regional centres.

The FRV is set to launch from July 1, replacing the MFB while the state’s 38 co-located stations — made up of career and volunteer firefighters — will move to the FRV.

Fire service boundaries will also be changed with outer suburban areas of Melbourne currently served by the CFA to come under FRV control.

But Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) state councillor and Maryborough Fire Brigade Captain Darryl Wagstaff said new changes to the reforms have been made with no consultation, including the introduction of new uniforms.

“A few short months ago the CFA was being hailed for its efforts in protecting our communities. Now we are being betrayed by the State Government,” he said.

For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Tuesday, June 30

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