Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters MP, has today said that she fears the federal Government’s intervention will not resolve the bitter Victorian firefighter dispute.
"The Federal Government has amended the Fair Work Act and in my opinion, rather than put an end to this dispute, the changes will make the whole process more difficult.
"Collective bargaining between an employer and employees is complex and hard at the best of times. I fear the Federal Government’s new laws will make it harder for the Victorian State Government, the United Firefighters Union and Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria to reach an agreement.
"Not all volunteer fire fighters support the VFBV stance, meaning there could be a breakaway volunteer organisation that has the right to challenge both the VFBV and UFU.
"This has already been a nasty, bitter and politicised dispute. Local fire fighters are being called thugs and that kind of behaviour is not on.
"Rather than showing leadership and calling for the dispute to be resolved, Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals have inflamed the dispute for their own political gain.
"I don't believe these new laws will do what the Government is claiming. Ultimately, responsibility lies with the Victorian State Government to resolve the dispute between the United Firefighters Union and the Country Fire Authority. It’s their mess to clean up.
“It’s my understanding that of the 60 plus volunteer only CFA brigades in the Bendigo electorate, none of them will be affected by the proposal.
“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,” said Ms Chesters.
Ms Chesters has slammed the Prime Minister and the Liberal party for being hypocritical and creating hysteria for political gain.
“We all know the Liberals hate unions and the workers they represent. It’s disappointing the Liberals are using this dispute to pursue their own political agenda.
“This is the same Liberal Government that shut down the Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI) on Mount Macedon and transferred its operations back to Canberra.
“Prior to this announcement AEMI trained local CFA volunteers higher up the chain of command to ensure they had the skills and expertise they needed.
“I will continue to be a strong voice for our CFA and emergency service workers and volunteers. They sacrifice so much for our community and as their local MP I will continue to support them,” said Ms Chesters.