Western Victoria MP James Purcell has encouraged local CFA volunteers to have their say in the select committee review of the Fire Services Reform Bill.
In a letter to volunteer fire fighters in the south west, Mr Purcell expressed his thanks to everyone who attended his community engagement sessions in mid June.
"I greatly valued all the contributions and appreciated everyone coming out to speak with me about the Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2017," he said.
"It was through these consultation sessions that I was able to form an opinion about the legislation, which led to my vote in support of the Bill being reviewed by a select committee. The volunteers feedback has shown me there is great concern about the Bill and the impact changes will have on volunteers."
Mr Purcell said he could not vote in favour of a change that was not supported by the volunteers.
"I hope this committee review will give CFA volunteers and the wider community the opportunity to be involved in the process. I encourage concerned locals to take this opportunity to be involved by presenting their own personal submissions and attending the public hearings.
"At this point the committee review seems to be only viable option to hear and address the issues raised by volunteers and make positive steps forward," he said.
If the committee is not able to find a solution that meets the needs of volunteers and protects their rights Mr Purcell has said he is prepared to introduce the Presumptive Rights Compensation element of the Bill as a Private Members Bill later in the year.
"Our CFA is the backbone of communities and volunteers like you are critical to the Australian ethos. I thank them all for the hard work you do in keeping our community safe."
The committee is seeking written submissions up until Friday 7 July 2017 with public hearings to be announced soon. You'll find more information on the select committee website at https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/fireservicesbill/inquiries/article/2571