Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

It must greatly disappoint local firefighters to know that Gordon Rich-Phillips and Inga Peulich have turned their backs on providing compensation for firefighters who suffer cancer as a result of their work protecting our community.

All of Denis Napthine’s members in the Victorian Parliament’s Upper house refused to support a motion to introduce legislation that would have put this important support scheme in place.

Mr Rich-Phillips and Ms Peulich’s decision to oppose the motion last week in Parliament was disappointing as such legislation would focus on improving access to compensation – claims made by career and volunteer firefighters exposed to the hazards of a fire scene.

The Labor Opposition supports the introduction of presumptive legislation as Victorian firefighters go out every day in high risk situations to protect the community.

Labor was prepared to work with all parties on progressing legislation through Parliament as we believe that supporting career and volunteer firefighters in this way is an issue that should be beyond party politics.

The Napthine Government never came to the table to work cooperatively through the measures needed in legislation for this to be an effective scheme.
It is a great pity those Government members such as Mr Rich-Phillips and Ms Peulich have been quiet on their position for months and chose to vote down such an important motion that recognises the sacrifices our firefighters make daily to protect Victorians.

The Napthine Government has already cut $66 million from the states’ fire services and in recent weeks has proved its bushfire preparedness is not up to scratch with the slashing staff at the Victorian Bushfire Information Line, followed by news that Elvis, the firefighting air crane, would not be returning to Victoria for this fire season.

Victorian firefighters deserve better that this raw deal from Denis Napthine and his Liberal National Government.

Yours sincerely

MARTIN PAKULA MP
Member for Lyndhurst