Statement On The CFA Board from the Emergency Services Minister

This evening I have advised the CFA board that the Government has begun proceedings to dismiss it.

Earlier today I communicated to the board the Government’s unanimous acceptance of an agreement as recommended by the Fair Work Commission.

I outlined additional safeguards that have been put in place that the Government is satisfied resolves concerns previously raised by the CFA board.

The CFA board has indicated its refusal to support the agreement.

I do not have confidence in the ability of the board to end a dispute that has gone on for far too long and to deliver the reform that the Country Fire Authority needs to keep our community safe.

The CFA board has been unable to negotiate a new EBA for their career firefighters for nearly three years. This includes the process before the Fair Work Commission since November 2015.

In his final recommendation, Commissioner Roe found that ‘the CFA have sought to ignore the long and sensitive bargaining process that has been before me since November 2015’.

In addition, the findings of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fiskville and the Fire Services Review have identified significant cultural and governance failures which I  am not satisfied the board will address.

The Fiskville Inquiry report found that some senior executives and Board members of the CFA did not meet their responsibility to keep members and the local community safe from contamination.

Fire Services Review found morale in the fire services was at its lowest ebb in decades, with an enormous divide between senior management and firefighters.

Volunteer and career firefighters have told us they’re sick of being used as a political football – they want this fixed so they can focus on fighting fires and keeping their communities safe.

A new CFA board will be appointed shortly to make sure this is the case.