Much of my electorate of South-West Coast is protected by volunteer firefighters. In fact district 5, which takes in Warrnambool, Port Fairy and up to Hamilton, has 94 brigades and around 4000 volunteers — the largest number of volunteers in any Country Fire Authority (CFA) district in the state.
But these volunteers are angry that their government is prepared to sell them out and hand control of the CFA to the United Firefighters Union.
I have been fighting for volunteers on this issue since coming into this role six months ago because that is how important this is to our communities. This Friday volunteers across the south-west will rally in Warrnambool against the CFA losing control. I will be standing alongside them, telling the government to keep its hands off this proud volunteer organisation.