THE State Government says the Victorian firefighting system needs repair, and so it is going surgical.
While many remain cynical about the Andrews Labor Government’s intentions, as well as this government’s apparent obedience to the demands of the United Firefighters Union and its chief enforcer Peter Marshall – the government says this move is about improving a broken model.
Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Services Harriet Shing said that splitting fire services will actually strengthen the firefighting system.
“In essence, if you were to create a fire services structure now from scratch, this is the way that you would do it,” she said.
“We want to make sure that both volunteer and career firefighters get the resources and the training and the brigade support that they need so that they can accommodate future growth and so that we can get more volunteers into the system.”
The new deal includes more than $100 million of new funding to volunteer brigades, providing additional training, equipment and facilities to “further enhance the CFA’s capacity”.
Confusion and concern has been raised as to how the 35 integrated fire stations will be affected, but Ms Shing says that, for example, Wodonga, Shepparton and Wangaratta, which are all integrated fire stations, will continue to house volunteer firefighters.