CFA stations at Strathbogie, Rochester and Myrtleford are among those to miss out on upgrades this year, while the Labor Government rakes in $800 million from the fees you pay to the fire services property levy.
Analysis of the State Budget papers confirm that just $7.6 million will be spent on new asset infrastructure for Victoria’s Country Fire Authority in 2022-23 (State Capital Program, p27).
It is scraps off the table for country fire brigades, too many of which will now spend at least another 12 months battling sub-standard facilities that aren’t fit-for-purpose.
Labor’s under-investment in the volunteer fire services shows its priorities are all wrong.
It risks leaving our country communities exposed and under-prepared at our time of greatest need.
In Strathbogie, the local brigade missed out again despite years of advocating for funds to upgrade the ageing shed which barely fits two tankers.
The lack of space means volunteers have to wash the hoses on the main street.
Rochester’s ancient fire shed is long past its used by date – there’s barely enough room to fit the truck, let alone for storage of equipment – and there’s no facilities for the volunteers to get changed in when they turn out in an emergency.
The kicker is that while CFA volunteers miss out, the Andrews Labor Government has been forced to admit cost blowouts on its mismanaged major projects have now increased to $28.1 billion.
Imagine what those funds could have done for our country fire brigades.
Under-investing in country emergency services puts country lives at risk.
Only a change in State Government in November will ensure regional Victoria gets our fair share.