Fund­ing to CFA mag­a­zine cut

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By Stephanie Hor­ton

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❞

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