VFF praises Garrett for standing up for CFA

Friday 10 June, 2016

VICTORIAN farmers have applauded former Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett for putting her principles ahead of her political career and refusing to sign away control of the CFA to the United Firefighters Union.

“I’m sure all Victorian farmers would join me in congratulating Ms Garrett on refusing to sign a deal with the unions that risks seeing 60,000 volunteers walk away from the CFA,” VFF President Peter Tuohey said.

“The VFF is bitterly disappointed that Ms Garrett was forced to resign. 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.

“I’m calling on the Premier to do the right thing by volunteer firefighters and not sign the Enterprise Agreement in its current form.” 

The VFF has launched a petition that calls on the State Government and CFA to stand their ground and not sign the draft 2015 Enterprise Agreement (EA) with the United Firefighters Union (UFU) until:

•        The full cost of the draft Agreement to the CFA and State Government has been independently assessed and made public. This assessment must not only consider the impacts of additional staffing and wage increases, but also the cost of increased allowances, penalties and resources needed to employ existing UFU members, plus 509 additional paid firefighters.

•        The full impact of the draft agreement on the Fire Services Property Levies that Victorian farmers, households and businesses pay to fund the CFA is independently assessed and made public. This assessment must cover the period up until at least June 30, 2019.

•        All clauses are removed from the agreement that restrict the CFA Chief Officer and board from exercising their right to recruit, direct and allocate staff to where they are needed. (The draft agreement currently states the CFA must employ another 509 career firefighters by June 30, 2019).

•        All clauses are removed from the agreement that force the CFA to gain UFU approval to employ casual and part-time staff, allocate resources and appliances. As it stands the CFA must gain union approval (on a case-by-case basis) before any casual or part-time staff can be employed, which acts as a major barrier to women working as paid CFA firefighters.

The VFF is calling on all concerned Victorians to sign the petition, which will remain open until the dispute is resolved and can be found here: http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=5381a2f70092cc72dd15e5fdd&id=d6210e1256

Media Contacts:

Peter Tuohey, VFF President: 0428 952 425

Ashley Mackinnon, VFF Public Affairs Officer: 0417 165 784