Danny O’BRIEN (Gippsland South) (17:27): (303) Thank you, all, for coming in for my adjournment. It is a very important matter. The matter is, unfortunately, for the Minister for Emergency Services in the other place. The action I seek is for the minister to fund the fire stations in my electorate that are in dire need of funding and replacement, in particular at Foster. I was informed last year that this was actually funded under the CFA budget for the 2023–24 financial year and that a new station would be built. I am also advocating on behalf of Mirboo North and Korumburra, and I will come to those in a moment.
With respect to Foster, I understand a site has been identified which is actually on VicTrack land, and so while it cannot be purchased, a lease arrangement was to be set up. The brigade have now been told by the CFA that they cannot proceed with entering into a lease arrangement for that land because the funding that was previously there for a new station, set by the CFA, has now been withdrawn, and that is due to budget cuts by the state Labor government. The Foster fire brigade has been fighting for this certainly since I was elected in 2015. The Nationals committed to building a new station in 2018 and 2022, but despite being on the CFA capital works program, it has still not happened, and now it looks even less likely to.
The other two I mentioned – Mirboo North was likewise on the CFA’s capital works program, I believe, for this year. There have been some issues with finding an appropriate site for that rebuild, but that is one that is also necessary. I walked with the CFA brigade from Mirboo North at the recent Mirboo North Winterfest, and they told me that they are getting frustrated that this is still delayed. On Saturday in Korumburra I ran into the captain of the Korumburra brigade Shane Maskell, and he reminded me of the state of the Korumburra station, which again is small and outdated. All of these stations are OH&S risks because they are not wide enough for volunteers to safely get changed in and have a truck moving in and out at the same time.
I do welcome the commitment by the government to funding for the Yarram rebuild, although I am perplexed given that that was also announced by the CFA last year and then reannounced as an election commitment by the government and somehow funded in this year’s budget. Foster, Mirboo North and Korumburra must be funded, and I ask the Minister for Emergency Services to get on with the job, back our CFA and fund the rebuild of these stations.