I was elected to stand up for my community, including our volunteers and as such I wish to respond to claims that the Liberal National Coalition is scaremongering and playing political games with the current CFA crisis.
It’s incredible that people can think this is the case when there are members of Premier Daniel Andrews own team who also have concerns about this deal.
The fact the Emergency Services Minister is refusing to sign off on the deal, despite the Premier urging her to do so, shows there are fundamental flaws.
The fact the CFA Board, the CFA Chief Executive Officer and The Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission have state that this deal is unlawful also shows it’s not just Coalition MPs who hold fears about what this agreement will do to the organisation.
Thousands of volunteers have also shown they are concerned their roles will be diminished as the number of paid firefighters increases at stations like Warrnambool.
They are worried about the unnecessary control and with the increased numbers of paid firefighters on shift, they fear opportunity for volunteers to utilise the roles they have been trained for will disappear.
There is no economic trigger or any analysis to determine if the balance between the roles of paid and volunteers staff is correct.
No one is saying there is no need for career firefighters, there absolutely is.
What is under question though is what impact an increase of paid staff will have on the role of volunteers and what impact any loss of volunteers would have on our communities during times of emergency.
This is not about political games. It’s about ensuring volunteers are recognised as a vital asset to protect our communities.
They deserve to be respected in a way that reflects the importance of their role.
Roma Britnell MP
Member for South West Coast