New CFA data shows response time crisis: Liberals failing Victorians

UFU MEDIA RELEASE: TUESAY 30 August 2016

New CFA data shows response time crisis: Liberals failing Victorians

New data released today shows the failure of the previous Victorian Liberal Government and previous CFA Board to implement the findings of the 2009 Bushfire Royal Commission.

In 2015 more than fifty CFA volunteer brigades failed to meet Primary Service Delivery Standards in medium urban areas.

The data reveals alarming examples of services failures. The Warrandyte Brigade failed to meet this target for medium urban incidents 80% of the time. Lara Brigade failed to meet these standards 81% of the time, arriving on time to 19 of 98 incidents they attended as the primary brigade in 2015/16.

“This is the reality. We have a problem with services standards. The firefighter’s enterprise agreement was drafted to address this response time crisis.

“We need better interoperability between MFB and CFA firefighters to make sure Victorians are protected and these response times are fixed. The Royal Commission recommendations made this clear. It’s not good enough to turn a blind eye when lives are at risk,” said Peter Marshall secretary of the UFU.

“Service Delivery Standards are the pre-defined response time allowed for a brigade to respond to an emergency incident and have the best chance of preventing loss of life and protecting property.

“In 2009 the CFA asked for 684 additional career firefighters. Volunteer brigades around the state need the back-up of full-time, paid firefighters.

“The CFA’s own data shows the organisation’s alarming failures to meet response times.  This is not the fault of volunteers.  The previous state Liberal Government cut $66 million out of the CFA and spent $21 million of the fires services levy litigating to oppose increasing firefighter numbers.

“Volunteer and career firefighters turn out together to save lives every day, but the volunteers cannot be expected to do the work of full-time, paid emergency services staff in areas where we have growing populations and increasingly complex fire incidents.   The CFA’s own Service Delivery Standards are consistently not met. That means households, properties and lives are at risk.

“Risk to life and property increases greatly every minute that goes by after the set response times. Instead of peddling misinformation and obstructing enterprise bargaining, the Federal Government and Minster Cash should deal with the facts.  These response failures demand action,” said Mr Marshall.

Media contact: 

Jessica Kendall 0414 679 857