Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay has condemned the state government for its decision to split the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and remove volunteers from integrated fire stations.
“This is a black day for volunteer firefighters who have served and protected their communities and this state for at least 126 years,” Mr Ramsay said.
“While there have been murmurings of a move by the Labor Government to separate career firefighters from their volunteer counterparts, the fact that this decision has been made now is reprehensible.
“This decision was clearly influenced by the United Firefighters Union (UFU) and its secretary, Peter Marshall, to sidestep Turnbull Government legislation passed by the senate in October last year to protect CFA volunteers.
“What this demonstrates is the power the UFU has exercised to bully the Andrews government to an early conclusion of contentious enterprise bargaining negotiations.
“This is a sad day for the spirit of volunteerism in Victoria, a very sad day for the Australian spirit.”
Premier Daniel Andrews said the CFA was originally conceived as a 100 per cent volunteer organisation.
“But it hasn't been that way for decades,” Mr Andrews said.
“The CFA will once again become a 100 per cent volunteer organisation.
“And to make sure it stays that way, we're going to enshrine it in law.”