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Wednesday, 07 September 2016 00:00

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The proposed Federal legislation to protect the volunteer based CFA and other volunteer based emergency services from industrial interference is now being examined by a Senate Committee.

The Senate Committee is encouraging volunteers to send in submissions/comments by 12 September 2016send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (see the message from the Senate Committee below)

Submissions can be a simple email to show your support, or a detailed submission on what’s at stake and why the legislation is so important.

The Senate Committee will recommend whether Parliament should support the legislation or not.

There is more information below, or see the VFBV website item on the Federal Government’s Volunteer Protection Amendments to the Fair Work Act

See below for the Senate Committee’s invitation to volunteers.



Click here for our 22 August Update to Members, which explains the volunteers’ concerns and the need for the Federal legislation. (if the Click Here link doesn’t work, see below)

The proposed Federal legislation would make a simple change to the Fair Work Act, making it objectionable for workplace agreements to restrict or limit the emergency service organisation’s (in our case CFA) ability to:

•             engage or deploy its volunteers;

•             provide support or equipment to those volunteers;

•             manage its relationship with, or work with, any recognised emergency management body in relation to those volunteers;

•             otherwise manage its operations in relation to those volunteers;

The legislation will also provide an ability for volunteers, through bodies such as VFBV, to make submissions to Fair Work Australia in respect of these issues if we have any concerns.


The Enterprise Bargaining Agreement – Key matters of concern

Current Commonwealth industrial law means that if the CFA/United Firefighters Union Enterprise Bargaining Agreement is registered:

•             The powers of the Chief Officer will be overridden;

•             The union will be given power of veto on issues affecting volunteer based and fully integrated organisation, operations and support;

•             Volunteer consultation rights under the CFA Volunteer Charter will be restricted; 

•             Other clauses in the EBA that are contrary to the CFA Act will apply; and

•             Volunteers will be treated as second class just because they are not paid.




Dear CFA Volunteers,

Just last week, the Federal Government introduced legislation to protect CFA volunteers from a proposal put forward by the Victorian Government together with the United Firefighters Union.

It is apparent that many CFA members think this proposal discriminates against their rights and role as a volunteer.  The former Board of the CFA agreed and we

re subsequently sacked by the Victorian Government for raising their concerns. The Minister responsible for the CFA, Jane Garrett, was also forced to resign because she could not support the proposal.

Given the seriousness of this issue, the Federal Government has acted quickly to introduce legislation that seeks to protect volunteers and bring this dispute to an end.  This legislation - the Fair Work Amendment (Respect for Emergency Services Volunteers) Bill 2016 has been referred to the Senate Employment Committee for an inquiry.  This inquiry will take submissions from people who have been impacted by the proposal.

After considering the submissions, the Committee will then make a recommendation on whether the Parliament should support the legislation.

As Chair of this Senate Committee I am inviting you, and other CFA volunteers, to make a submission.

Submissions can be as short or as long as you like and can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The deadline for submission is 12 September 2016.  This is your chance to have your say, in your own words. The committee and I look forward to hearing from you.


Bridget McKenzie

Senator for Victoria

Chair, Education and Employment Legislation Committee




Published in VFBV News


The Fire Services Review has been granted a two week extension and will now report to the State Government by 14 October.

The Review team has also announced that they will not publish the submissions received until then.

For more details, see the Fire Services Review website.

Published in VFBV News
CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.


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