Chesters calls on Government to release proposed Fair Work Act changes

The Federal Member for Bendigo is calling on the Federal Liberal Government to release the proposed legislation dealing with the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) dispute prior to Parliament returning.

"I am disappointed that Malcolm Turnbull and his Liberals have refused to release the proposed legislation amending the Fair Work Act,” said Ms Chesters.

Labor sought a briefing from the Federal Liberal Government on the proposed legislation.

"Malcolm Turnbull and his Workplace Relations Minister, Ms Cash are city based MPs from other states. So their understanding of regional Victoria is limited.

“As a regional MP with close to 60 CFA brigades across the Bendigo Electorate, it’s important that I have the opportunity to discuss the proposed changes with career and volunteer firefighters before this legislation is tabled in Parliament.

"We have no idea what the Liberal Government is proposing or how it could impact our community. We all know the Liberals hate unions and the workers they represent.

"Workplace relations policy and the Fair Work Act is a complex public policy area and I want the time to consult widely and broadly on any proposed changes.

"If the Liberals genuinely wanted cooperation they would engage in an open and constructive briefing with what is now a complex parliament and not rush the CFA legislation through.

"Equally, if the Liberals genuinely cared for regional communities they will release the legislation to Victorian regional MPs to allow us time to consult with our communities.

"I proudly and loudly support all of our emergency service workers regardless of whether they are volunteers or employees. At the coal face, our CFA volunteers and career fire fighters work closely together to ensure our communities are safe.

"It's clear that this Liberal Government isn’t interested in helping volunteers, or ending the CFA dispute, they are simply interested in the political opportunity the dispute has presented them,” said Ms Chesters.