Local brigades unite against Andrews' arrogance
21 June 2016
Tuesday 21 June 2016
Brigades from across north east Victoria came together on Saturday to rally against Daniel Andrews’ plan to hand control of the CFA to the United Firefighters Union (UFU).
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan joined local brigades in Benalla to send an unequivocal message to the Premier: Hands off the CFA.
Brigades from Euroa, Violet Town, Benalla and Wangaratta groups all met in Benalla where they moved through town collecting signatures on a petition supporting CFA volunteers which Ms Ryan will present to Parliament.
The convoy then continued on to Mansfield to join local brigades there.
Ms Ryan said the rally was a peaceful but indisputable show of solidarity from local volunteers.
“It was great to see so much community support for our CFA volunteers," Ms Ryan said.
"We need to stand behind them as a community, in the face of this extraordinary attack from Daniel Andrews.
"The role of the CFA in country Victoria is too important to mess with. I support paid firefighters being fairly compensated for their work but I cannot support the UFU’s demand for control over the CFA.
“I was proud to stand with our local volunteers. These men and women have given up so much to protect communities right across Victoria and Daniel Andrews’ actions show a contempt for this sacrifice which we cannot stand for.”
Ms Ryan said the government’s claims that the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) would not impact on CFA volunteers was completely false.
“The government's own Minister, the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission, the CFA board and CEO, the body representing Victoria's 60,000 CFA volunteers, the government's own senior legal counsel and counsel assisting the Bushfires Royal Commission Jack Rush QC all believe the EBA is flawed,” Ms Ryan said.
“Yet Daniel Andrews sacked the CFA board and his own Minister for refusing to bend to his will.
“He sacked the board for refusing to sign, even though the Supreme Court issued an injunction and warned the board they could face imprisonment if they signed.
“An EBA that takes away the rights of the largest volunteer body in Australia is just not on.”
Ms Ryan encouraged people to consider showing their support to local volunteers
“You can show our volunteers that you stand with them by writing a letter to the newspaper, sharing my petition at www.stephryan.com.au/hands_off_the_cfa or simply by letting your local brigade know that they have your support,” Ms Ryan said.