Victorian Firefighters Rally

Vic firefighters to rally against cuts | From News.com.au    

AAP September 07, 2012 3:22PM

MORE than 1000 firefighters and support staff from around Victoria will rally in Melbourne to protest against multimillion-dollar budget cuts for the state’s firefighting agencies.

The United Firefighters Union (UFU) says $41 million is being cut from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) budget and another $25 million from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade’s (MFB) budget.The state government says the cuts will not affect frontline firefighting, but the union says they already have, with a leaked CFA memo to one country Victorian region outlining a range of “austerity measures”.In a bulletin to members, the UFU says it’s important to attend the rally next Thursday to show Premier Ted Baillieu and Emergency Services Minister Peter Ryan “that cuts to our fire services will not go unanswered”.“Clearly public safety will be affected by the Baillieu and Ryan short-sighted cuts,” the bulletin reads.

“This is just the start of the campaign to save our conditions and defend our fire service.”UFU secretary Peter Marshall said more than 1000 people were expected to join a march from Trades Hall to Parliament House, including paid and volunteer firefighters and support staff from around the state.Mr Marshall has said the cuts were an insult to the memory of the 173 people who died on Black Saturday in 2009 and went against the recommendations of the bushfires royal commission.Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said Mr Ryan and Premier Ted Baillieu were the only people in the state who believed the cuts would not compromise safety.

The leaked memo says the real impact of the budget cuts in the Grampians area will be close to $300,000, which it says will affect a number of casual and part-time staff.It also says there will be cuts to training, non-essential positions will not be filled and recruits will be issued with second-hand gear.

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