CFA overhaul voted down

By Benalla Ensign

A major overhaul of the CFA proposed by the Victorian Government has been voted down in Parliament at the 11th hour by the Nationals.

On Good Friday, the state government attempted to introduce the Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2017, hoping to capitalise on the fact that one member who had indicated she would oppose the bill was absent due to hospitalisation.

State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said the Labor Government had broken the CFA charter and shown a contemptuous disrespect for the CFA during the past three years.

‘‘Year in, year out our CFA volunteers leave their families to fight fires, saves lives and keep us safe,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘The Nationals have stood beside our volunteers against every attack waged on them by Daniel Andrews.’’

Ms Ryan said the Nationals remained committed to fulfilling their promise of ensuring all career and volunteer firefighters had equal access to cancer compensation.

‘‘We will be introducing a private members bill to fast-track presumptive rights legislation for all firefighters,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘Despite this bipartisan support, Daniel Andrews bundled presumptive rights with his legislation to break up the CFA.

‘‘Daniel Andrews did this knowing he did not have the numbers to pass his legislation and knowing this likely would delay access to compensation for firefighters with cancer.’’

Ms Ryan said Labor was city centric and did not place value on Victoria’s volunteers.

‘‘Communities in regional Victoria survive and thrive because of the people who give their time and their skills to benefit others,’’ she said.

‘‘The Nationals will always support our hardworking volunteers whether they be CFA, SES, life savers or coast guard.’’