Letter to the editor:
Claim back the CFA
The Premier has confirmed that he plans to proceed with the dismantling of the CFA by introducing his so called ‘‘Reform’’ Legislation after the election.
This flawed proposal, created behind closed doors, without consultation and devoid of costings, is a politically contrived plan, blatantly and falsely being sold to volunteers and the wider public, as ‘‘Reform’’.
The public is not told that the sole basis of this legislation is to circumvent Federal Legislation and the CFA Act, provisions specifically put in place to protect the interests of volunteers against external industrial influences, which negatively impact on their vital role.
This damaging proposal undermines the fact that the success and efficiency of the CFA lies in the integrated model, where volunteers and career firefighters work side by side in a seamless working environment, based on a spirit of co-operation and common purpose.
Sadly, the key component demanded by the industrial mantra behind the governments changes, will see an end to this collaborative model that has stood the test of time.
In examining the fine print in the legislation, Jack Rush QC, Counsel assisting at the Black Saturday Royal Commission, has described the proposal as ‘‘an emasculation of arguably the most renowned fire service in the world’’.
We all agree that our fire services must keep pace with development and demographics in a changing community environment.
However, despite what the government’s spin doctors say, the proposed changes provide no more additional service capacity, efficiency or service interoperability than can be implemented today under the current structure.
In fact, and of serious concern, the proposed changes actually further fragment and disrupt our fire services, by placing it under ever-increasing and restraining industrial impediments. It is the wrong plan for the times. This is not a political campaign by CFA volunteers. They don’t have the power and might of a union behind them, but simply demand fairness and social justice.
All volunteers ask for is to be valued, respected, consulted and to be given the right to play a meaningful part in an organisation on an equal footing.
This demands a management committed to volunteer welfare and ethics, unfettered by rigid industrial controls.
Let the coming state election be a clarion call for voters.
Claim back the CFA.