Turnbull and Cash must stop dividing firefighters

UFU MEDIA RELEASE: 22 August 2016

Turnbull and Cash must stop dividing firefighters

The United Firefighters Union in Victoria today calls on Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash to stop inciting division between career and volunteer firefighters.

“If the federal government wants to do something useful it would step in and support the thousands of firefighters and volunteers exposed to dangerous chemicals through CFA mismanagement,” said Peter Marshall, UFU secretary.

“The Liberals only pretend to care about volunteers when it suits their political interests.  For two years the Federal Coalition Government did nothing while firefighters were being poisoned at Fiskville.

“Now, they pull this stunt and rush in with legislative amendments.  Even now, the Liberals have nothing to say about how they would support the hundreds of firefighters who were poisoned on their watch.

“The Turnbull Government is all spin and no substance.  Using career and volunteer firefighters as pawns to score political points is a new low.  Where was the Federal Government intervention when the former CFA board was covering up contamination at Fiskville, exposing thousands of firefighters to toxins that have destroyed their health?

“Where is their support for sick firefighters and their children right now?

“While Turnbull and Cash play politics with this sham legislation the firefighters exposed to contamination under their watch are crying out for support and assistance.

“Victorians saw Turnbull and Cash’s meddling for what it was – a federal election stunt.  Now the election is over, parties to the agreement are focused on trying to find a solution so that our members can get on with the job of saving lives.

“We thought it would stop after the election, but this Government can’t help itself. Cash continues to lie about the EBA’s requirement to have seven paid firefighters at every incident.

Their efforts to continue this divisive agenda now, tells you everything you need to know about Prime Minister Turnbull’s leadership style – he’s about dividing Australians, not bringing Australians together.

“Turnbull and Cash’s actions are a disservice to volunteer and career firefighters alike.  Career firefighters are putting their best foot forward and want a resolution and an enterprise deal.  We urge the Turnbull Government to drop its ideological attack,” said Mr Marshall.

Media contact: 

Jessica Kendall 0414 679 857