I am delighted that last night the Turnbull Government, with the assistance of a majority of Senate crossbenchers, passed legislation that will protect our emergency services volunteers from a hostile union takeover.
The Turnbull Government has stood up for our communities and the more than 60,000 Victorian volunteers who protect us.
These dedicated CFA volunteers protect us during the summer bushfire period and now we have taken action to protect them.
This is a victory for men and women who have fought to defend the CFA and the role of its volunteers. For seventy years, CFA volunteers have protected Victorian communities.
The CFA is one of the largest and most effective volunteer organisations in the world but in recent months it has faced huge uncertainty.
At the behest of the United Firefighters Union, Premier Daniel Andrews has tried to coerce the CFA into signing an enterprise agreement that would diminish the CFA’s volunteers and undermine the CFA’s volunteer based model.
What we have seen in recent months was a shameless power grab by the union, endorsed by Premier Andrews and defended by Bill Shorten.
The law we have passed invalidates terms in enterprise agreements that undermine the capacity of firefighting or state emergency service bodies to properly manage their volunteer operations.
This will mean an enterprise agreement can no longer be used to undermine the capacity of emergency services bodies to properly manage their volunteers and operations.
At the last election we made a commitment to ensure CFA volunteers were protected and we have now delivered on that commitment.
I am proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with CFA members and other emergency services volunteers in support of the great work they do. Congratulations to Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria President Nev Jones from Moorooduc CFA for helping to lead the case.
By working together we have been able to achieve a great result for the CFA and the community.