31 May More questions raised about CFA split
Tom Minear and Anthony Galloway — Herald Sun — 31 May, 2017
CLAIMS by the Andrews Government that it is being forced to dismantle the CFA because of a ”completely unworkable” federal law have been thrown into doubt by documents filed at the Fair Work Commission.
Premier Daniel Andrews has argued that federal legislation designed to protect volunteers made it impossible to seal a new workplace agreement for paid CFA firefighters, prompting the radical restructure unveiled this month.
But the Herald Sun can reveal that in December, two months after the Turnbull Government passed its new law, an enterprise bargaining agreement was approved by Fair Work for Victoria’s volunteer- based State Emergency Service.
It covers paid SES staff such as incident controllers and divisional commanders who work with volunteers.
Federal bureaucrats raised the SES deal at a Senate hearing this week, saying it showed it was not impossible to pass an agreement as long as it did not contain “objectionable terms” that harmed the role of volunteers.
Liberal senator James Paterson said the unionfriendly CFA EBA may have contained terms that impacted volunteer firefighters.
But Victorian Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said that the federal legislation did not affect the SES because it did not have paid operational staff.
This article was originally published in the Herald Sun.