Proposed CFA split would reduce force

May 19, 2017

Member for Euroa Steph Ryan says Premier Daniel Andrews has ramped up his attack on CFA volunteers.

In the midst of National Volunteer Week last week, Ms Ryan said Labor’s secret cabinet committee put its proposal to Cabinet.

The proposal attempts to split the CFA into a country volunteer-only body which would see thousands less volunteers protecting Victoria.

Ms Ryan urged CFA volunteers and supporters across the region to fight the split.

‘‘This is the last stand for the CFA and we must unite to stop Labor from tearing the organisation apart,’’ Ms Ryan said.

After Black Saturday, Daniel Andrews described volunteers across our region as ‘‘extraordinary people’’, and told Parliament ‘‘Words cannot properly reflect our gratitude for their efforts and admiration of their commitment and their dedication’’.

But Ms Ryan said Daniel Andrews now wants to get rid of Victoria’s loyal volunteers.

Ms Ryan said splitting the CFA to hand over suburban areas to career firefighters would devastate the organisation’s ability to provide surge capacity to rural areas and would put the safety of local communities at risk in the event of a large-scale fire.

‘‘We are no stranger to campaign fires. In recent years we have had the Kilmore-Mickelham grassfire, fires burning simultaneously at Longwood-Creightons Creek, Goorambat and Lake Rowan, and the 2007 Tatong fires and Black Saturday,’’ she said.

‘‘During those fires we depended on volunteer brigades from other areas, particularly from the interface and suburban areas of Melbourne, to assist us. That capacity will not exist if Daniel Andrews gets this proposal through, putting us in danger.’’

News of the split comes after $47million was cut from the Emergency Management budget in last week’s State Budget and the government’s target shows an expected reduction of more than 3500 volunteers.

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