Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters MP today is calling for more time to consider the proposed legislation dealing with the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA).
“Last week I called on the Federal Liberal Government to release the proposed legislation prior to Parliament returning. Today, I am calling for time to consult.
“I am waiting for a briefing from the department and a copy of the legislation. 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.
“What has happened is that yesterday the Prime Minister has held a press conference about this legislation and used it as an opportunity to attack firefighters.
“I don’t trust the Liberal Government or their word and I urge the community to do the same. This is a Government that botched this year’s census.
“We also have time.
“The proposed agreement is already the subject of a legal challenge in the Supreme Court of Victoria, scheduled for 22 September, and the Enterprise Agreement cannot be signed until that case is concluded.
“The CFA legislation should not be brought before the Parliament until that case is resolved and the Parliament can consider whether the legislation will have any effect at all on the CFA dispute.
“The legislation released today is drafted in broad terms but the Government hasn’t thought about the implications other than to further its politically motivated intervention in this Victorian issue.
"If the Liberals genuinely wanted cooperation they would engage in an open and constructive discussion with what is now a complex parliament and not rush the CFA legislation through.
“The Liberals’ blatant attack on fire fighters, and the union that represents them, was disappointing and another demonstration that the Liberals are not interested in seeing this issue resolved. Instead it appears the Liberals seek to further wedge career and volunteer fire fighters and our community.
“That’s not political leadership but political opportunism. It’s disappointing the Liberals are continuing to use this dispute to pursue their own political agenda.
"At the coal face, our CFA volunteers and career fire fighters work closely together to ensure our communities are safe. They sacrifice so much for our community and as their local MP I will continue to support them,” said Ms Chesters.