CFA plan needs changes

29 Aug 2017 Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga (General News) by Shana Morgan THE delay in finalising the future structure of the CFA may not be a bad thing for volunteer firefighters, if it means they finally reach an outcome to make them all happy. Vote 1 Local Jobs MP James Purcell was the swing vote in the Victorian upper house and announced last week he would not support the governments fire reforms bill without extra protections for the CFA. District 24 group officer and Rutherglen firefighter Andrew Russell said he was still hopeful of a happy medium could be achieved with changes to the bill. I think Fire Rescue Victoria has a place and it can work there is an opportunity to have something really good here, but there needs to be changes to the current policy, he said. Its not all doom and gloom. The proposal included paid operations managers and instructors at integrated stations employed by Fire Rescue Victoria, but seconded back to the CFA, which Mr Russell one of six group officers in the district said was unrealistic. His personal opinion was the CFA would need ironclad funding as a standalone organisation and the chief officer should have the authority to make decisions without outside influence. As a volunteer, Ive spent 20 years working with fellow volunteers and staff and this whole situation is just putting a dark cloud over everything and I just want to get on with it, he said. At the end of the day firefighters will still turn out for their communities . We probably need to see some good news, that would certainly help to reengage our members. Northern Victoria MLC and Labor member of the fire services inquiry committee Jaclyn Symes said it would be disastrous to do another full review and was pushing for change to begin. But Ovens Valley MLA Tim McCurdy backed the Coalition-supported half of the inquiry report, which said the government failed to properly consult emergency service organisations, staff and volunteers. Our CFA brigades should be focused on preparing for the fire season, not Daniel Andrews plans to tear our fire services apart, he said. Mr Russell said he would absolutely welcome another attempt to consult with volunteer firefighters before the bill was amended, but noted it would likely be played out at a higher level. Caption Text: Volunteer Andrew Russell Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.