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UPPER HOUSE CROSSBENCHERS NOT BACKING VICTORIAN CFA SPLIT
Victoria’s controversial bid to split the CFA does not have the support of two key crossbenchers in the upper house, while two others have not made up their minds.
Crossbenchers Rachel Carling-Jenkins and James Purcell do not support the bill to break up the CFA in its current form.
But Premier Daniel Andrews said they will continue negotiations to pass the bill, which would split the CFA into a volunteeronly organisation and merge career firefighters into the MFB to create Fire Services Victoria.
The DLP’s Ms CarlingJenkins wants the matter to go to a select committee, with a new panel of MPs to examine the bill.
‘‘Both sides need to be heard, there is so much angst, there’s so much within the MFB and within the CFA,’’ she said.
Ms Carling-Jenkins said the main complaint about the government’s plan was a lack of consultation.
Independent MP Mr Purcell has issues with the lack of consultation and thinks the bill will stall in the 40-member upper house.
‘‘I’m not sure where this is gonna (sic) finish because my reading of the numbers, it’s gonna be 20-20 no matter whatever happens,’’ he said.
The two Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MPs have yet to make up their minds on whether to support the bill and said they had not been given enough time to contemplate it.
‘‘This is one of those things that if it gets messed up, it’s going to mess up for a long time. We’ve got to make sure we vote the right way for the right reasons,’’ Jeff Bourman said.
Mr Andrews would not comment on whether the bill will be withdrawn from the upper house or a committee formed to examine it.
‘‘We’re having discussions with the crossbench and those discussion will continue throughout the day and week and we’ll see how that debate runs,’’ he said.
The State Government has said creating a new fire organisation was the only way to break an impasse in the protracted CFA pay dispute and improve emergency responses.
The split is also tied to widely-supported presumptive rights cancer compensation.
Opposition leader Matthew Guy said the Coalition would not look to split the bill because it did not have the numbers.
Not supported: Upper House crossbenchers will not support the Victorian Government’s bid to split the CFA.