Parts of the Greater Geelong region are not protected as they should be and efforts to modernise our fire services are being blocked by the Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos.
Mr Katos’s reckless opposition to the Andrews Labor Government’s common-sense fire services reforms is putting lives across the region at risk.
Media reports have recently highlighted that issues in Torquay and Armstrong Creek, including a fatal fire late last year, are being ignored by the local Liberal MP for the purpose of political point-scoring.
Response time figures in the Torquay and Lara area have repeatedly shown where more support is needed.
Consistent with Recommendation 63 of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, an independent Fire District Review Panel would be established under the Labor Government‘s fire services reforms.
The CFA have already reviewed provision in this area and have reassessed how they respond to fires in this region but a fire review panel would have addressed this issue much earlier.
The Panel would conduct future reviews of the boundary between fire services, based on population growth, urban development and the volume of Triple 000 calls. This important change is being opposed by Mr Katos.
This change is part of a significant fire services reform agenda from the Labor Government, which also includes significant support and funding for CFA volunteers to ensure they have the training, support and equipment they need.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino
“The fact is that our fire services are organised in a way that worked in the 1950s but doesn’t work today.”
“Every Victorian deserves to feel safe and what we know is that there are communities in our state that are not as protected as they should be.”
“If Andrew Katos was serious about community safety, he would put his community first and stop treating them with contempt. Right now, he is putting lives at risk.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020