Volunteers have their say

Local firefighters meet with Opposition MPs over inquiry

PHOTO: Emma Hillier
HOT TOPIC: Local volunteer firefighters in discussion with Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) and Brad Battin (Shadow Minister for Emergency Services) in Wangaratta. PHOTO: Emma Hillier

NORTH East volunteer firefighters have raised concerns about the future of the CFA with Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Brad Battin, and local MP Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) following a recent parliamentary inquiry.

Mr Battin visited Wangaratta yesterday as part of a statewide tour listening to CFA volunteers’ views about the State Government’s proposed split of the organisation into paid and volunteer firefighters.

Three CFA volunteers from Milawa and Eldorado attended the meeting at the Wangaratta Club, where they raised key issues of training, fleet funding and the CFA’s internal processes with Mr Battin and Mr McCurdy.

One volunteer called for more clarity surrounding training programs for firefighters, which differ from one district to another.

“Currently it seems to be a bit of a mixed basket case of who can and who can’t train,” he told Mr Battin.

“Fleet funding has also been a big one.

“We’re trying to make sure the fleet always changes over… we’ve got some trucks that are over 30 years old.”

The volunteer suggested the CFA consider implementing a system which ensures trucks are replaced on a regular basis.

Another raised the issue of the CFA’s internal processes, suggesting that rather than a top-down business approach, changes should be made at a grassroots level first.

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