Purcell questions CFA funding cuts

Western District MP James Purcell has raised concerns over CFA funding cuts, including the sudden axing of financial support for the 70 year old newspaper Fire Wise.

In Parliament yesterday Mr Purcell asked the Minister for Emergency Services to explain why funding had been cut for the newspaper.

"It's been brought to my attention that funding for the Fire Wise newspaper has been cut without notice or consultation.

"This paper has been in production since 1947 and is a highly valued information resource read by thousands of volunteers and paid staff within the CFA.

"It has given brigades and firefighters opportunities to contribute items and make comments on a wide range of issues."

Mr Purcell also said there was unease among volunteer firefighters that removing support for the paper was an attempt to limit the voice of volunteers, many of whom rely on the printed and online publication to keep up to date with issues and engage in independent discussion.

"The newspaper is one of the most well-read means of communication and is especially important for those who are not IT savvy, which is a very large percentage of our older and most experienced rural members."

Mr Purcell raised "rumblings" among volunteers about an entire review of CFA funding for the Volunteer Firefighters Brigade Victoria (VFBV), saying the CFA was the only source of funding for the VFBV.

"The VFBV is the only body that represent the voice of volunteer fire fighters in our state and I think cutting funding could be disastrous for volunteer and career members alike.

"I have asked the Minister to confirm whether VFBV funding is under review and look forward to his response."