State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, today spoke in Parliament of the importance of the Country Fire Authority and its many volunteers maintaining their independence and not being answerable to the city-based United Firefighters Union.
“Over recent weeks I have had a large number of CFA volunteers, several current captains and ex-captains and a number with decades of service, saying they will walk away from the CFA should the current EBA be adopted,” he told Parliament.
“My electorate is one of the most fire prone areas in the world and our CFAs are the backbone of our communities.
“Here we are in a situation where the UFU is saying things have been misinterpreted and this is simply scaremongering.
“In response to these comments, I ask why is it then that the CFA Board, with its high level of legal advice, says this is not the case and the EBA in its current form will remove CFA decision-making powers.
“Why also do we have the Minister saying this EBA is unfair to volunteers?
“When the Labor Minister herself says she has major concerns with the deal and that she supports the CFA, but is overruled by Premier Daniel Andrews, it is a grave concern.
“She is saying the threat is real – as are the CFA, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria and CFA members – they are all saying this threat is real, because it is real.
“To the volunteers from brigades that have contacted me from Glenaladale, Mallacoota, Bemm River, Lakes Entrance, Maffra, Paynesville, Heyfield, Sarsfield, Woodglen, Bairnsdale and Hillside – we will fight for your right to maintain independence, “ Mr Bull said.
“The premier needs to forget about payback for the UFU members who handed out how-to-vote cards at the marginal seats last election. By all means give them a fair pay rise, but keep your hands off the CFA,” Mr Bull said in concluding his address to Parliament.
Caption: Gippsland East MP, Tim Bull, speaking in support of CFA volunteers in Parliament today.