The Andrews Labor Government welcomes the decision of Volunteer Firefighter Brigades Victoria (VFBV) to withdraw proceedings against the CFA in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
This means the enterprise agreement between the CFA and its workforce can now be put to a vote of career firefighters. If a majority of the workforce agrees, it will then go to the Fair Work Commission for approval, in line with the usual process.
We have always said that this agreement should be dealt with by the independent umpire - the Fair Work Commission - not in the courts.
It is disappointing that instead of focusing on the welfare of all firefighters and the safety of the Victorian community, Andrew Ford and the VFBV leadership pursued such a costly, divisive and diversionary course of action.
We recognise the vital role that CFA volunteers play, that is why the proposed agreement between the CFA and career firefighters includes specific safeguards to protect the role of volunteers.
It is Fire Action Week and all emergency services are focused on the upcoming fire season and keeping Victorians safe.
The Labor Government will continue to work with the CFA and all firefighters to ensure that they have the resources and the support they need to undertake their vital role, including a new $35 million investment in our volunteer emergency services.
This investment includes funding for 28 additional CFA fire trucks, workwear for volunteer firefighters, and a $15 million Volunteer Support and Sustainability Fund, which will provide equipment and facility upgrades to volunteer CFA Brigades and other emergency service volunteers.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino
“It’s disappointing that Andrew Ford and the VFBV leadership sought to drag out this dispute and create division in our fire service instead of focussing on what really matters - community safety and the welfare of our firefighters.”
“They have recognised that they have no case and the Opposition must now do the same - it’s time to stop using our firefighters as political footballs.”
“Our emergency services are fully focused on the upcoming fire season and doing what they have always done - keeping Victorians safe.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020