Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says there are questions James Purcell must answer about his support of CFA Volunteers.
Mrs Britnell said while Mr Purcell is telling anyone who will listen he was the vote that saved the volunteer organisation from Daniel Andrews plan to tear it apart, but his actions over the past few weeks have raised questions about the extent of his support.
First, Mr Purcell, through his political party Vote 1 Local Jobs, is running his son’s as candidates for the upper house in the Northern Metropolitan Region, directing preferences to Fiona Patten’s Reason Party.
When legislation to split the CFA was before the upper house last year, Ms Patten voted in favour of the government’s proposal to tear the proudly volunteer organisation apart.
Secondly, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria has asked every candidate standing for election to take a pledge to show their support for the CFA. The pledge reads:
“I commit that I will not support any action that alters the existing CFA legislative arrangements unless such changes are recommended by an expert and independent review based on proper, transparent and evidence-based feasibility/cost/benefit analysis involving thorough consultation with CFA volunteers
I commit that I will not support any action, policy or legislative change likely to impact on CFA volunteers until the obligations and commitments set out in the CFA Volunteer Charter have been explicitly and fully adhered to.”
To date Mr Purcell has failed to take the pledge.
“Anyone who backs our CFA should be asking themselves why Mr Purcell’s political party is directing preferences to someone who voted to tear the organisation apart,” Mrs Britnell said.
“They should also ask why Mr Purcell hasn’t taken the pledge to publically put on the record he will continue to support CFA volunteers.
“Make no mistake, if Labor win this election, moves to split the CFA will be back on the agenda. Mr Purcell must move to publically record his position on the CFA.
“The Liberal Nationals will always back our CFA volunteers and the service they give our community in times of emergency.
“That’s why we announced we would build a new fire station in Port Fairy, and that we will set up a $67 million fund to make sure volunteers have the equipment and facilities they need to do their important work.”