I WAS disappointed to see Nationals MP Peter Crisp rise in parliament on May 10 to criticise the rumoured restructure of Victoria’s fire services.
Mr Crisp led by the usual warcry of the National-Liberal parties, saying it would be disrespectful to volunteers, volunteers would leave the CFA, and the sky may fall.
Again, our local member is causing further disharmony between career firefighters and volunteers in Sunraysia – instead of looking for a way forward.
Mr Crisp seems happy to stir up unwarranted fear just to serve his own political agenda.
He claimed a boundary realignment would see volunteers pushed out and many would leave.
Career firefighters in Mildura have been responding to any emergency call across the Sunraysia operational area for years to support volunteer brigades.
This was never intended to be a takeover – it’s to ensure that if you, or anyone in our community needs help, it gets sent.
Mr Crisp also spoke of career fighters and the United Firefighters Union (UFU).
The fact is the UFU is made up of CFA career firefighters, the men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to protect the community, alongside other professional and volunteer firefighters.
Every career firefighter in Mildura is a member of the UFU.
You may ask what has the UFU achieved for our local community, other than maintaining wages and safe working conditions for their members.
Their advocacy efforts resulted in our community receiving a new five-bay fire station, state-of-the-art fire appliances, and new protective equipment for firefighters, as well as more full-time firefighters on 24/7 – from just two members to six and soon eight.
Mr Crisp has only too happily promoted the “Hands off the CFA” campaign.
Now the government could be offering to remove UFU members from the CFA altogether, but our local member doesn’t seem to want that either. Why the flip-flopping?
Mr Crisp and the Turnbull Government have turned a normal EBA negotiation into a political football simply to serve their parties’ agenda.