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Federal safeguards to protect local CFA members

Legislation to be introduced in Federal Parliament next week will protect CFA volunteers from the proposed takeover by the United Firefighters Union (UFU) that is being pushed by the Melbourne Labor Government.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said the Federal Coalition’s Respect for Emergency Services Volunteers Bill would safeguard CFA and SES volunteers and enable them to continue to do the job they do best – protect our communities.

Mr O’Brien said in addition to Daniel Andrews’ appalling treatment of volunteers, the Premier was using bully boy tactics by now seeking to ban Coalition MPs from speaking at CFA events.

“This week, Daniel Andrews’ hand-picked CFA management sent an email to CFA brigades banning them from letting Opposition MPs speak at events. He is trying to exclude anyone who has opposing views,” Mr O’Brien said, noting that Opposition speakers keep politics out of it when attending CFA events.

Mr O’Brien said it was a dark day when Victorian volunteers had to rely on Federal Government intervention to give them the respect they deserve.

“Our local CFA and SES volunteers are there for us during fires, road accidents and chemical spills and we will not let Daniel Andrews steamroll them to pay back his debt to the UFU for the assistance it gave him to get him into office,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said the Federal Legislation would protect the role of volunteer firefighters and the power of the Chief Fire Officer.

The introduction of the Federal Legislation comes as Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) prepares to challenge the proposed EBA in the Supreme Court.

“This legislation will make it more difficult for Daniel Andrews to put the demands of the United Firefighters Union ahead of the interests of volunteers,” Mr O’Brien said.

Mr O’Brien said the CFA issue again dominated the Victorian Parliament last week, with Daniel Andrews facing questions about his failure to condemn allegations of bullying by UFU chief Peter Marshall.

“Volunteers are the ones, day in day out, risking their lives and providing a professional service to communities right across the Gippsland South electorate and they should be respected,” he said.

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