Independent candidate for Gippsland East, George Neophytou, has joined the Coalition commitment to justice for Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers and would support the Coalition’s Presumptive Legislation Bill.
Current Labor Government arrangements see employed firefighters being able to claim treatment under WorkCover for cancer and other conditions typically attributable to fire fighting. CFA volunteers on the other hand have to prove that at a specific fire they fought for the CFA caused the condition.
Further to that George will be calling for greater financial support for volunteer CFA brigades.
“Not only do we see volunteer firefighters discriminated against if they are injured,” he says “but we often see them running sausage sizzles or walking the streets seeking donations so they can get the equipment they need to fight fires”.
“It is enough that CFA volunteers give up work and time with their families, putting their lives and health on the line to protect life and property. At a time when all property owners are paying the Fire Services Property Levy, they should not also have to raise funds.”
“In another example of how country residents are discriminated against, the levy rate for MFB areas is much lower than the levy rate for CFA areas. Industrial property in metro areas is levied seventy-three point three cents per $1,000 in value, CFA areas are levied a dollar three point seven, forty one percent more. Rural residents pay twenty six percent more per $1,000 value than their metro counterparts.”
“It is time our volunteers and our landowners are treated with respect. I think this State election will see a resurgence of regional independents. Labor and Liberal are too City Centric and the Nationals just do what they are told” says George Neophytou. “With the coming fire season shaping up to be both hot and dry due to the Climate Change conditions the Coalition deny it has anything to do with coal fired electricity generation, we should support the CFA any way we can”.