Gippsland South The Nationals Emergency Services Volunteers CFA

Labor votes against bill to protect CFA volunteers

Labor MPs have voted down the Liberal-Nationals Coalition’s efforts to introduce a bill into Parliament to protect the rights of CFA volunteers.

The Country Fire Authority Amendment (Protecting CFA Volunteers) Bill sought to enshrine the rights of Victorian volunteer firefighters’ in legislation.

Speaking from Parliament, The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, said the lack of support from Labor was extremely disappointing and had left the CFA heading into a dangerous summer fire season with the dispute still unresolved.

“I have full faith in our local brigades that they will do their utmost to defend our communities but they should not have to go into the summer fire season with this dispute hanging over their heads because the government does not respect or value their work.

“The Bill would have compelled the CFA and its board to comply with the volunteers’ charter.

“This would have stopped the CFA from entering into any agreement or arrangement that could have an adverse effect on the interests of volunteers under the volunteers’ charter.”

Mr O’Brien said the UFU had tried to bully the CFA into signing a common law deed that would force through key clauses in the proposed enterprise bargaining agreement.

During the last question time for the year this week Daniel Andrews would not rule out doing a side deal with the UFU to give them precedence over volunteers.

“Daniel Andrews has left the door open on doing a side deal with the UFU during the summer months. Our Bill would have ensured he could not do that – Labor has voted with its feet and sided with a militant union over local volunteers.”

Mr O’Brien said The Nationals in a future Coalition Government would not honour any deeds which harmed CFA volunteers. 

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