Firefighter motion hosed down

By Casey Neill

Greater Dandenong councillors voted down a “pre-emptive” motion to express concern about CFA reforms.
At the Tuesday 13 June meeting, former Keysborough CFA volunteer Cr Tim Dark proposed that the council write to all local brigades, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV), United Firefighters Union of Australia (UFU), local MPs, and Victorian ministers and shadow ministers to indicate strong support for volunteers.
Councillor Matthew Kirwan was the motion’s only other supporter.
“I am concerned that the legislation and the likely outcomes of the review are ambiguous and may lead to the inability of volunteers to successfully operate in integrated stations,” he said.
He said he also worried about the continuing existence of volunteer stations like Noble Park and Keysborough.
“I think it appropriate that we send a clear message to the State Government that we have concerns about how volunteer firefighters are protected by this legislation and proposed review,” he said.
Cr Roz Blades opposed the motion because “it goes without saying that this council supports its volunteers”.
“I think the way to do this is to have a discussion or meeting with our local member of parliament,” she said
“I think this preamble is entirely political.
“I don’t think this notice of motion is necessary.”
Cr Sean O’Reilly said: “I think if the council is seeking more clarity on the changes I think that’s fair.”
But he said the motion as worded “seems to be favouring volunteers over paid firefighters”.
“That might not be the best outcome for our community in a restructured service,” he said.
“I think the motion is too pre-emptive.”