Category Archives: Local Issues




ANDRE HAERMEYER – Former Bracks Labor Government Minister

 6 Jun 2016

“Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett is right in standing by the Country Fire Authority’s nearly 60,000 volunteers in an industrial dispute with the United Firefighters Union.”

“Many of its [the UFU’s] demands in its current dispute with the CFA are Trojan horses that would sideline CFA volunteers and undermine their interests, with little or no real benefit for the paid firefighters the UFU represents. It would also undermine the operational authority of the CFA’s Chief Officer and operational commanders as well as compromise the fiduciary responsibilities of the CFA’s Board under the Country Fire Authority Act.”

Source: Herald Sun, 6 June 2016


GARY JOHNS – Former Keating Labor Government Minister

17 Jun 2016

“The Victorian Labor government called the agreement reform: anyone else would call it a union takeover.”

“At present, the duty officer at a fire station determines the appropriate truck and crew to respond to an incident. If a duty officer has to put together a team with a mandated number of professionals, responsiveness and community safety may be compromised.”

“At present, parties have a wide scope to place matters in enterprise agreements. That scope is too broad and, as with the UFU, too many matters are subject to union veto over management prerogatives.”

“The Andrews Labor government is a union stooge.”

Source: The Australian, 17 June 2016


PETER TUOHEY – President, Victorian Farmers Federation

10 Jun 2016

“The Premier and his colleagues risk eroding all the good work they’ve done in country Victoria if they side with the union and sign this deal with the unions.”

Source: Media release, VFF

14 Jun 2016

“The VFF is now throwing its support behind Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria’s legal challenge to the union deal,”

“Ultimately a few dollars donated now could save us all thousands of dollars in higher Fire Services Property Levies to cover this union deal in years to come.”

“Not only has the Premier sacrificed his Emergency Services Minister and the CFA board, he’s sacrificed his credibility among country Victorians and their 60,000 CFA volunteers”

“It’s a sad day when the Premier puts a union with just 500-odd members in the CFA ahead of 60,000 volunteers.”

“Farmers had gained enormous respect for the Premier, since he came to power in November 20I4, given his Government’s investment in rural Victoria and support during the drought and recent dairy crisis.”

“But I can tell now farmer CFA volunteers feel like the Premier and his team have abandoned them in a bid to cut a deal with the unions.”

“We’re already hearing of people wanting to quit the CFA and others wanting to boycott payment of the Fire Services Property Levy that funds it.”

Source: Media release, VFF


MACHELLE CRICHTON – President, Country Women’s Association of Victoria

10 Jun 2016

“These recommendations have the potential to put our communities at risk. We are especially concerned for the safety of our rural families and their communities.”

“The Country Women’s Association of Victoria’s primary concern was the welfare of our women and children, their families and communities. We are very concerned by the lack of consultation with rural CFA volunteers, which is required under our current legislation, and the resultant damage that would occur.”

Source: Facebook post, The Country Women’s Association of Victoria Inc. – CWA, 10 June 2016



8 Jun 2016

“We agree with VEOHRC that the clauses in the proposed agreement that prohibit or restrict part time work are likely to indirectly discriminate against employees who are women, pregnant, have the status of parent or carer, have a disability and possibly also older people.”

Source: CFA Crown Counsel advice, 8 Jun 2016



5 Jun 2016

“The agreement effectively bans employees working part time at a station as an active career firefighter,”

“Any employee who wishes to work part time under the proposed (agreement) must first get the employer and union’s agreement to do so.”

Source: The Age, 5 June 2016



13 Jun 2016


Have you had a look at the EBA?

Jack Rush QC:

I’ve had a look at the EBA and I think it’s highly unsatisfactory for volunteer firefighters.


Tell us, what areas concern you?

Jack Rush QC:

I think it’s going to be looked at particularly in this regard that volunteers run their own show and the whole idea behind recruiting is a commitment to your community and a commitment to the safety of the community. And to have people imposed on you or to have ideas imposed on you that don’t fit in with that ethos is going to impact generally on firefighters. You have a look at seven firefighters on the ground in particular circumstances, paid firefighters. What you’re losing is the ability of the CFA and the volunteers to run their own show and I think that’s of critical importance as has been pointed out; critical importance to recruiting into the CFA and you will not get the volunteers, you will not get the people committing if they know that their operation, this fire station, is going to have at some stage, or a potential at some stage, to have a will imposed on it that’s not like them.


The Fair Work Commission recommendation say that the role of volunteers wouldn’t be altered, do you disagree with it?

Jack Rush QC:        

Yeah I do and I think what we’ve seen, as I understand it, advice has been provided to government by crown council to indicate that that’s not the situation. I don’t think you would see a Minister resigning if it was all well and good. I have my own views on the EBA. I think the fact that we’ve lost minister supports where I’m coming from.

Source: Doorstop, Molyullah CFA, Molyullah VIC

“The EBA is highly unsatisfactory for volunteer firefighters. The government should be placing volunteers first. This proposal should be distressing for everyone in our state”

“The ability of the CFA to run their own show will be completely lost … It will affect their morale, it will impact recruitment.”

Source: Courier Mail, 14 June 2016



15 Jun 2016

“Look, I come from the bush, the volunteer fire fighters in NSW, and Victoria’s the same, they get out there, they do this for free, they work for their communities, so you know… anytime the volunteers want to stand up, I’m behind them.”

Source: 3AW, Neil Mitchell program


SUE NOBLE – Volunteering Victoria CEO

8 Jun 2016

“In rural areas, volunteers in the emergency services are connected and contribute across their communities in ways that extend far beyond fighting fires. Devaluing the work of volunteers will act in the same way as pulling a linchpin from the axle of these communities; the wheels that keep these rural areas turning will simply stop without support for emergency services volunteers.”

Source: Bendigo Advertiser, 8 June 2016

Labor slashes funding for training at Chisholm


Labor has slashed funding for student training at Chisholm Institute of TAFE, despite promising before the elections to grow enrollments and ‘rescue’ TAFE.

Chisholm’s annual report, tabled in Parliament last week, reveals funding to subsidise student training was cut from $54.4 million in 2014 to $50.4 million in 2015.
(Annual report p.60 Note 2: Income from Transactions ‘State Government contributions -contestable funding’

Funding to directly subsidise student training has declined by $4 million or 7.3 per cent.

As a result of Labor’s cuts to TAFE, Chisholm’s student contact hours plummeted by 1.3 million hours and enrolments declined from 38,018 in 2014 to 35,524 in 2015. (Annual report p.21)

The Dandenong campus was the worst affected, with 1878 fewer enrolments last year. Enrolments at the Frankston campus also dropped by 896.

Last year the 2014 training market data report was released in March. Daniel Andrews is yet to release the 2015 report which details the true extent of his cuts to training in south-east Melbourne.

Comments from Shadow Training, Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Steph Ryan:

“Daniel Andrews’ promise to ‘rescue’ TAFE was a cruel hoax.

“Under Labor, Chisholm has lost $4 million for training and there are now 2494 fewer enrolments at the Institute than when Daniel Andrews took office.

“These cuts are particularly cruel when the future of tertiary education in south east Melbourne is under threat.

“Daniel Andrews must immediately release the training data detailing the full impact of these cuts on student enrolments at Chisholm.”

Fire risk and the Mornington Peninsula

Over recent years, particularly since Black Saturday, there has been increased awareness around the fire risk on the Mornington Peninsula. Parks Vic and DELWP acknowledge that Arthurs Seat is probably the highest risk area in terms of a fast spreading fire threatening residential property.

This was discussed at a Mornington Peninsula Shire meeting on the 27th January 2016, where senior CFA representative Arthur Haynes described this risk in some detail, during debate on the Arthurs Seat Skylift fire plan – (as per YouTube audio link above – approx. 8 minutes in total) Local brigades and emergency services are well drilled in how to deal with this risk however there is increasing concern from residents on the Southern Peninsula as well.

These concerns are driven by a number of factors:

  • Large amount of fuel loads on
    • Council owned land
    • Parks Vic land (Mornington Peninsula National Park)
    • Vacant land
    • Land with non permanent residents

DELWP have recently done some fire modelling which show that the real risk of a catastrophic bushfire in the Rye/Blairgowrie/Sorrento area is relatively low, there is still a need for some consideration to fire breaks and access tracks for emergency vehicles.

This then highlights the main concern, which is the complete state of gridlock our roads face in the summer period, the time when the fire risk is at its greatest. Mr Haynes, in the attached recording (in the last minute) also points to this issue and it is on this basis that I would like to see a more collaborative approach to the completion of works outlined in the 2013 Pt Nepean Road Study.  Those works were in order of priority:

  • Alteration to the Truemans Rd intersection
  • Construction of the Jetty Rd overpass to connect the freeway to the existing arterial road extension
  • Completion of the arterial road extension from Boneo Road to Melbourne within the existing (or revised) VicRoads road reserve

I am currently seeking advice from the Government on the progress of planning for the Jetty Road overpass as this is widely recognised, in particular by the Mornington Peninsula Shire, as the most urgent road infrastructure project on the Southern Peninsula.

Overall, we need to see these projects as first and foremost a public safety issue and I will continue to work with all interested stakeholders and relevant authorities, including the Minister, to ensure these projects receive the attention and funding they deserve.