FIREFIGHTERS have accused the State Government of taking millions of dollars from the Fire Services Levy (FSL) instead of spending the money on fire protection.
Four Wangaratta firefighters were among more than 1000 from across Victoria to march through Melbourne yesterday to mark the introduction of the FSL and demand all money raised go towards fire services.
The United Firefighters Union (UFU) claims the FSL grew from $322 million in 2009 to $654 million in 2012, but the State Government banked an extra $157 million in the 2011/2012 financial year instead of spending it on fire services.
The Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Metropolitan Fire Brigade budgets were also cut by $66 million for 2013/14.
Wangaratta Fire Brigade senior station officer, Carl Stibilj, said the CFA needs that money to improve equipment, firefighter numbers and training.
“That’s now not happening, it’s going on consolidated revenue,” he said.
“We’re fortunate that we got our new fire station when we did… What’s going to happen from now on?”
Read more about the impact of funding cuts in this region in Wednesday’s Chronicle.