Local volunteers blocked from having their say on CFA Bill
Friday 7 June 2019
The Nationals Member for Ovens Valley is infuriated that Daniel Andrews is pushing ahead with his plan to tear apart the CFA by using Labor’s numbers in Parliament to gag debate and pass his divisive Bill through the lower house this week.
Mr McCurdy said the Andrews Government had shut down consultation with local communities by preventing the usual two week consultation period and allowing just one day for debate, before forcing its CFA Bill to a vote in the Legislative Assembly.
“It is unacceptable that Labor continues to gag anyone who wants to speak out against their plans to destroy fire services as we know it in Victoria,” Mr McCurdy said.
“You only have to look back over time to see what has happened to anyone who has dared to speak out against Labor’s fire services reforms. CFA CEOs Lucinda Nolan and Peter Rau spoke out – they got sacked. The CFA Board spoke out – they got sacked. Labor’s own former Minister for Emergency Services spoke out – she was sacked.
“Now Labor have gagged 15 Nationals and Liberal MPs including myself from putting the concerns of local CFA volunteers on the record. It’s a disgrace.”
“The Andrews Government is hell-bent on destroying the CFA, even if it means betraying local communities in Regional Victoria by refusing to allow local volunteers a chance to be consulted.
“I support presumptive rights legislation for our volunteer and career firefighters, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of tearing up our CFA.
“After seeing the way the Andrews Government has treated volunteers since it was elected, I have no trust that Labor will make sure volunteers are treated fairly and equally under presumptive rights legislation.
“The Liberal Nationals introduced a bill for presumptive rights into the Parliament in May 2018, but Daniel Andrews and Labor voted this bill down.
“The Nationals will always stand up for our CFA volunteers. We will fight on their behalf for the respect they deserve.”
Since Daniel Andrews was elected in 2014, more than 3,500 volunteers have left Victoria’s CFA.
“We need our local volunteers and the tens of thousands across the state to protect our homes, families and communities and to provide vital surge capacity at our times of greatest need,” Mr McCurdy said.
“Labor has shut down the voice of our CFA volunteers by refusing to consult with them on this flawed legislation that will reduce the number of CFA volunteers in Victoria, and impact community safety.
“The Nationals will keep fighting against Labor’s disgraceful and divisive legislation.”