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Member for Western Victoria Region, Bev McArthur spoke in Parliament yesterday on the Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2019.

The Bill reached the Legislative Council, after the Labor Government cut debate short in the Legislative Assembly in the last sitting week, in an effort to legislate it as soon as possible. The Labor Government pushed aside the Disability (National Disability Insurance Scheme Transition) Amendment Bill 2019 which has a deadline of 30 June, in favour of rushing through the Bill to tear apart the CFA.

Nine CFA fire stations in Mrs McArthur’s electorate of Western Victoria Region will be affected if the bill passes, including Ballarat, Portland, Warrnambool, Lara, Geelong, Corio, Belmont, Ocean Grove and Melton, which will all be stripped from the CFA and subjected to the control of the United Firefighters Union, in the formation of Fire Rescue Victoria.

Bev McArthur said “this Bill once again demonstrates the Labor Party’s ideological resentment of volunteerism, non-unionism and the self-determination and responsibility of rural and regional communities.”

“This government only want paid service providers everywhere. Daniel Andrews is a recruitment agency for Mr Marshall. They just want new members for Mr Marshall’s United Firefighters Union.”

“I call on my colleague, on the cross bench in Western Victoria Region, Mr Meddick to revieww his position and reject this Bill and not to stand in this place and talk about the rights of animals when many thousands, even millions will be lost in the next raging fire across our Region, due to the inability of paid staff to effectively fight our grass and forest fires.”

“At every turn, this government chooses to tear down the institutions that have ensured the safety of Victorians for generations who live beyond the tram tracks of Melbourne.”

“I have grown up in rural Victoria and the CFA is part of our world, our life. My grandfather died in a Western Victorian bushfire. I know many who have been adversely affected by fire and who are so grateful to our CFA volunteer firefighters and they will be horrified to think this great organization will be no more.”

“I oppose this Bill. It is a disgrace and all those supporting it should hang their head in shame,” she concluded.

19 June 2019