Mr D O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (19:05): (6338) My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Emergency Services, and the action I seek is for the minister to deliver a solution to a debacle that has been occurring with a number of CFA brigades around the state in relation to ultralight vehicles. The issue in essence is that new vehicles were provided—in my case, there are a number in my electorate. But a particular complaint has come from the Loch Sport brigade, which actually raised money and put significant funds towards the purchase of this ultralight vehicle.

The issue is broadly that there have been load restrictions imposed on these ultralight vehicles. Effectively they are Toyota LandCruiser utes with gear on the back, including a tank and various other bits and pieces. But there is a problem with the weight-bearing issues in relation to the rear axle on the configuration of these ultralight tankers. Believe it or not, because of this issue, which has been identified since the vehicles were produced, these brigades have been told there are a couple of solutions. These solutions include removing the tow bars, removing lockers on the back and, believe it or not, reducing the water available in the tanks from 550 litres to 400. On what planet it would be thought that a firefighting vehicle would need to reduce the amount of water on board I do not know.

This is an issue that has been going on for a number of years. Some of the brigades involved have accepted the various solutions that have been put forward by the CFA, but certainly there are others, including Loch Sport, Yanakie and I think a few others, that are very upset about what has been proposed and just want the ultralight vehicle that they were promised and that they paid for. I understand there is an engineering solution to replace the rear axle which will fix this issue. Just late today I have been advised by one of the brigades that they have got an email back from the CFA and that there is some progress on addressing this issue, so I hope that does come to fruition. But it is a frustration. The volunteer members that I spoke to are really angry about this because they put a lot of work into raising the funds for these ultralight vehicles. They want them to work. They have had issues. There are concerns still that if the rear axle issue is not addressed, they will not perform well, particularly in difficult circumstances like on sand and in mud. If you are in Gippsland, both of those are regular things that you encounter as a firefighter.

I ask the Minister for Emergency Services to deliver a solution to this—it is of great frustration to our CFA volunteers—and make sure that these vehicles are up to scratch and delivering as they should be for our communities.

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