Gippsland South The Nationals Emergency Services CFA Danny O'Brien state parliament Lisa Neville CFA districts

CFA vacancies compromise fire preparedness

The Andrews Labor Government has been called on to intervene to ensure that staff vacancies in local CFA districts are filled ahead of the onset of the fire season.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien is concerned that four vacancies out of four commander positions in CFA District 10 are currently vacant, placing huge pressure on remaining staff and compromising preparations with volunteers for the fire season.

In State Parliament this week, Mr O’Brien called on the Minster for Emergency Services, Lisa Neville to intervene.

“CFA career staff work as commanders throughout our CFA regions to assist volunteers and our local brigades with training, preparation, compliance and numerous other roles.

“It is very alarming to me to hear that of the four positions in District 10 - covering Wellington Shire – four are currently vacant. This places enormous pressure on the Assistant Chief Fire Officer for the district and makes life difficult for the volunteers who protect our communities.”

Mr O’Brien said under the Government’s new fire services model, all career staff are employed by Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) and then seconded out to the CFA.

“We warned from the start that this was a sub-optimal arrangement and The Nationals in Parliament opposed it vigorously.+

“It seems now that FRV is failing to prioritise staff appointments in CFA positions and the risk is this could compromise our fire services over the summer period.

“The Government needs to act urgently to ensure that these positions are filled and our firefighting services are fully prepared.”

Mr O’Brien also took the opportunity to again campaign for funding in the upcoming State Budget for local fire stations including Yarram, Winnindoo, Foster and Mirboo North.

“I’ve been campaigning for these stations for five years now, and the Andrews Labor Government has not allocated a single cent of capital funding.

“As we emerge from the coronavirus lockdown, these are the perfect projects that are ready to go, would employ local builders and sub-contractors and deliver our CFA volunteers the modern facilities they require.

“The Andrews Labor Government has consistently disrespected CFA volunteers and done it’s best to diminish the organisation itself.

“It’s time Labor stood up for the CFA and ensured our communities are protected from fire this summer and into the future.”

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien is concerned that staff vacancies will compromise community safety this fire season.

 

11 November 2020

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