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Federal legislation to break Union’s control of CFA

VICTORIAN farmers have applauded federal legislation that is set to put an end to the United Firefighters Union’s control of the CFA.

The Federal Government has presented its Fair Work Amendment (Respect for Emergency Services Volunteers) Bill 2016 to Parliament, which strikes out clauses in any union deal that could override CFA volunteers’ rights or operations.

“As it stands this UFU deal allows the union to override the powers of the CFA chief officer, which is why the CFA’s former chief officer, former CEO, former board and former minister have all walked away from the deal in disgust,” VFF President David Jochinke said.

“Our farmers, most of whom are volunteers, won’t accept the union overriding their rights and access to resources. That’s why we’re grateful to the Prime Minister and his Employment Minister Michaelia Cash for ending many of the union’s powers over the CFA.

“It’s all about the CFA Chief Officer being able to operate the CFA effectively on behalf of its 60,000 volunteers, not just its 600 paid career firefighters.”

The Bill prohibits any clause within a Union Enterprise Agreement from restricting or limiting the CFA’s ability to:

  • (i) engage or deploy its volunteers;  
  • (ii) provide support or equipment to those volunteers;  
  • (iii) manage its relationship with, or work with, any recognised emergency management body in relation to those volunteers;
  • (iv) otherwise manage its operations in relation to those volunteers

“We’re also glad to see the legislation is retrospective and makes sure there is fairer representation during negotiations on union deals,” Mr Jochinke said.

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