Report recommends abandoning fire services split
18 August 2017
A parliamentary committee has recommended the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) be referred for investigation for interfering in an inquiry into Victoria’s fire services.
The Legislative Council Fire Services Bill Select Committee report was handed down on Friday, also recommending the Andrews Labor Government’s fire services Bill is withdrawn from parliament.
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said the report made it clear that Daniel Andrews had failed to properly consult emergency service organisations, staff and volunteers on his plan to split the Country Fire Authority.
“Our CFA brigades should be focused on preparing for the fire season, not Daniel Andrews’ plans to tear our fire services apart,” Ms Ryan said.
“A key question this report raises is whether Daniel Andrews, his office or members of his government knew of or directed DPC to politically interfere with the committee.”
The Committee said the Andrews Labor Government’s consultation on the Bill had been “inadequate” and “in the case of consultation with volunteers, in contravention of the CFA Act”.
The report comes after Benalla CFA volunteers last month raised concerns that the Andrews Government fabricated data about the number of volunteers it had consulted with.
The numbers, which were provided to the committee, were subsequently withdrawn and the CFA's chief officer forced to apologise after local volunteers exposed the fact that the government's claim it had consulted with 35,000 volunteers was wildly inflated.