FIREFIGHTERS will use this week’s May races to target Premier Denis Napthine in his home electorate over cuts to CFA funding and staffing levels at Warrnambool’s fire station.
The United Firefighters Union will take their campaign to the racecourse entrance, using billboards calling on the Napthine government to better fund frontline services.
The union is stepping up its campaign in a state election year.
Warrnambool firefighter and union delegate Troy Cleverly said the city’s firefighters were being asked to do more with less.
Crews recently had to respond to an incident in Natimuk — more than two-and-a-half hours away from Warrnambool.
“We’re noticing increased fire activity in Warrnambool. There’s no particular reason but we’ve had more structure fires,” Mr Cleverly said.
The delegate said Warrnambool often responded to unrestricted operations (fire emergencies) with just three firefighters on the ground.
Under the CFA regulation the minimum number is four.
“It puts more pressure on our volunteers,” Mr Cleverly said.
The state government has repeatedly rejected claims it has cut $66 million to CFA and MFB budget, saying it increased it by $47 million over the previous Labor government.
The CFA is due to negotiate a new enterprise bargaining agreement with the union this year.