CFA volunteers from Greater Shepparton voiced their concerns and questions regarding impending changes to Victoria’s fire services directly to their chief officer last week.
CFA chief officer Steve Warrington visited the integrated Shepparton station on Thursday as part of a wider tour of the state’s CFA brigades.
‘‘It’s fair to say there is quite a divergent view across our organisation (surrounding the changes) so this is my opportunity to get out there and state the facts as I understand them,’’ he said.
‘‘For the Shepparton CFA, essentially the primary area of the Shepparton community will be taken away from the country area of Victoria and that will be replaced by Fire Rescue Victoria.
‘‘So essentially we have career staff here now and those same career staff will be employed by FRV and we’ll establish a CFA brigade here that we have right at the moment that has volunteers.
‘‘From a community perspective nothing will change.’’
Mr Warrington fielded questions and queries from volunteers on the topic of commander control arrangements and what the new legislation specifies.
‘‘We’ve heard what other people want us to hear so we’ve heard things such as veto, the power of the chief officer will be gone, volunteers will be kicked out ...’’
‘‘So they (volunteers) just said, ‘can you confirm to us that some of the things we’ve been previously told have been now rectified in this legislation?’
‘‘So today has been an opportunity to state some facts to our people and give them security in this case that Shepparton volunteers will stay, they’re not being taken out.’’
Mr Warrington assured volunteers the CFA would retain its assets once the changes come into force.
‘‘Obviously if there’s a primary truck that our career staff are using at the moment that will, in an assets sense, be moved to FRV,’’ he said.
‘‘Similarly if it’s a brigade truck or CFA truck it stays in the CFA. If it’s brigade assets, if it’s brigade fundraising it will stay in the CFA.’’
Mr Warrington said the changes would allow the CFA to maintain its accountability to manage itself under its current legislation while working together with FRV.