Funding to CFA magazine cut
The funding towards the CFA’s FIRE WISE magazine has been scrapped.
The paper, which has been published since 1947, has serviced volunteers from 1200 brigades with information on various operational events.
According to editor Gordon King, the paper had reassurance in August from the embattled firefighting organisation the $60 000 funding would continue.
Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria chief executive Andrew Ford said they were disappointed with the CFA’s decision to cancel funding for the ‘‘vital tool of communication and consultation’’.
‘‘Volunteers deserve a voice and FIRE WISE is a part of that. Cutting funding is another step towards gagging volunteers,’’ Mr Ford said.
He said the paper was an integral part of the CFA’s ability to communicate with and hear from volunteers.
Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said under a Coalition Government FIRE WISE would be reinstated.
Mr McCurdy said the funding cut came one week after the publication reported on the need for a Royal Commission into Victoria’s fire services, announced by the Liberals and Nationals.
‘‘FIRE WISE is used by VFBV, the CFA chief, Emergency Management Victoria commissioner Craig Lapsley and local volunteers to communicate messages on issues which affect volunteers,’’ Mr McCurdy said.
‘‘This is just one more step in the Daniel Andrews plan to tear the CFA apart by gagging volunteer engagement and participation in fire service delivery.’’
A local CFA volunteer labelled it ‘‘once again a clear attack by the Andrews Government on CFA volunteers’’.
‘‘We were actually waiting for their next instalment of CFA volunteer bashing and vilification,’’ the volunteer said.
‘‘I am sure there will be plenty more before next year’s state election.’’
Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said funding decisions such as FIRE WISE were matters for the CFA.
‘‘CFA has updated its funding arrangement from an annual cash grant to a paid advertising approach,’’ a CFA spokesman said.
‘‘It is essential any expenditure of public funds be done with proper governance, accountability and value for money.’’
A defiant Mr King said the paper would continue to be printed, relying on its subscription base of $34 a year.
❝Volunteers deserve a voice and is a part of that. Cutting funding is another step towards gagging volunteers❞