Call to scru­ti­nise fire pay deal

Shepparton News - Country News - - SEYMOUR ALTERNATIVE FARMING EXPO 2017 -

Vic­to­ria’s pro­tracted fire­fight­ers pay dis­pute needs to be in­ves­ti­gated, says the Op­po­si­tion.

In­stead of sign­ing a new pay deal, the CFA and the United Fire­fight­ers Union have added new con­di­tions to the 2010 en­ter­prise bar­gain­ing agree­ment, in­clud­ing a $3000 bonus, a 19 per cent al­lowance in­crease and a yearly $125 sports voucher.

The bonuses and al­lowances will be back paid to Au­gust 12.

An in­de­pen­dent re­view is needed into the ‘‘sweet­heart deal’’, says Vic­to­rian Lib­eral Leader Matthew Guy.

‘‘I think there are many ques­tions that still need to be an­swered about the con­duct of the gov­ern­ment when it comes to this whole CFA de­ba­cle,’’ Mr Guy said last week.

‘‘The au­di­tor-gen­eral could cer­tainly be called in to look at this sweet­heart deal, there’s no doubt about it.’’

The An­drews Gov­ern­ment said the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s vol­un­teer laws — in­tro­duced in di­rect re­sponse to the CFA pay dis­pute — were pre­vent­ing a new deal be­ing signed.

Vic­to­rian Emer­gency Ser­vices Min­is­ter James Mer­lino said the CFA and the union agreed on the al­lowances and bonuses deal ‘‘more than six months ago’’.

‘‘Last week, the Fair Work Com­mis­sion agreed to this out­come,’’ Mr Mer­lino said.

Vic­to­ria’s fire ser­vices have strongly op­posed sign­ing new deals they be­lieve hand too much power to the union at the ex­pense of vol­un­teers.

But Pre­mier Daniel An­drews be­came deter­mined to get a deal done ahead of the most re­cent fire sea­son, so he pushed for the CFA to give in to the union’s de­mands.

For­mer emer­gency ser­vices min­is­ter Jane Gar­rett and CFA’s chief ex­ec­u­tive and chief fire of­fi­cer re­signed rather than sup­port the deal, and the gov­ern­ment sacked the CFA board for re­fus­ing to back it.

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