THE State Government announced last week a raft of new measures affecting volunteer and career firefighters across the state.
The Andrews Government’s changes include new laws which give all firefighters equal access to compensation for specific cancers contracted while on duty, a $56.2 million recruitment, retention and training program for firefighters, and the creation of an Emergency Services Infrastructure Authority to deliver $44 million worth of new facilities to CFA stations.
The most significant change, however, comes with the creation of a new organisation; Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV).
FRV will combine the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) and CFA career firefighters from the 35 integrated stations, and will service metropolitan Melbourne and the major regional centres.
A CFA media release hailed the creation of FRV as part of a package that will “strengthen the delivery of fire services that keep our community safe”, and “will allow the CFA to concentrate on promoting, supporting and advancing the interests of volunteers and the community they serve.”
Conversely, opponents of the measures say that the splitting of the CFA along paid and volunteer lines will weaken the organisation, and criticised the Victorian Government’s lack of consultation with key figures was concerning.