A CFA volunteer with 35 years’ experience has spoken up about his frustration and sadness of volunteer firefighters battling blazes in the state’s east being made to feel like second class citizens.
Simon, who returned from fighting the Gippsland fires, told Neil Mitchell on 3AW that it is “chalk and cheese” when one compares the equipment volunteers and career firefighters have available to them, describing volunteer’s equipment as “simply appalling”.
The veteran volunteer explained while career staff are equipped with the latest equipment and uniforms, volunteers in Tallangatta are left with vehicles without working crew protection, splits in dual-line hoses and blocked and snapped town branches.
Shockingly, Simon revealed a volunteer, who gave up his paid work to attend to the fire ground, was left without boots and another was left without a hat.
Chris, a volunteer from Mornington CFA, highlighted further the neglect from the Andrews Labor Government, explaining to Mitchell their brigade was forced to take a truck offline due to its age and volunteers having to manually operate their station door when they turn out to fires.
These shocking reports from CFA volunteers, who have been bravely fighting Victoria’s bushfires for more than a month, are the destructive consequences of five years of neglect from the Andrews’ Labor Government.
“Daniel Andrew’s war on the CFA has left volunteers with broken equipment and a lack of uniforms, risking the lives of those who fight to protect us, which is simply unacceptable. The Andrews Labor Government have made it clear their priorities are with Peter Marshall and the UFU, placing the needs and safety of CFA volunteers to the side,” says Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Brad Battin.
“Our volunteer firefighters have been vital to the survival of life and property during this bushfire season and for Daniel Andrews to continually refuse them essential firefighting equipment and uniforms is putting our volunteers lives at risk.”