Further Victorian-wide consultation with emergency service personnel was undertaken last week by Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Brad Battin and Nationals Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy.
The pair joined forces to meet with local fire fighters and community members in Yarrawonga, Cobram, Wangaratta and Myrtleford to hear their thoughts on the future of Victoria’s fire services.
Mr McCurdy said a recent parliamentary inquiry confirmed the Andrews Labor Government failed to consult firefighters before introducing flawed legislation in an attempted political fix for the fire services.
“The Liberal Nationals Coalition want to ensure our policies place community safety at the forefront and is developed in full consultation with the men and women who have been protecting Victoria for decades,” Mr McCurdy told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.
“Brad Battin’s visit was part of the Coalition’s state wide tour to consult with and listen to our fire fighters on the ground, particularly the 60,000 volunteers ignored by Daniel Andrew and James Merlino.”
Mr McCurdy and Mr Battin were in Yarrawonga and Cobram on Monday, December 5 which also included Cobram SES representatives. Then it was Wangaratta and Myrtleford CFA volunteers on December 6.
“I have been working with the Cobram SES to lobby the State Government for funding for a Victorian-based headquarters for the unit,” Mr McCurdy said.
“They currently operate out of Tocumwal NSW, 18kms away, which adversely impacts the unit’s response times to emergency calls.”
Mr Battin, who was in the Victorian Police Force in Melbourne from 2000 to 2007, has been Shadow Minister for Emergency Services since 2014 and was pleased to be back in north-east Victorian last week following his last visit in November 2016.
“In order to build a strong fire service for the future it is important that we drive around the state to listen and work with our firefighters on the ground,” Mr Battin said.
“We’re keeping the pressure on the government to do the right thing regarding volunteer firefighters. Then we start delivering policy and community safety.
“The safety of our local communities and firefighters is too important to be traded for political favours from the UFU.”