Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty is backing a CFA call for the state government to fund an upgraded CFA fleet.
CFA chief officer Steve Warrington has recently requested the Victorian Government provide up to $200 million to upgrade what is reported as being the oldest firefighting fleet in Australia.
Mr Quilty has added his voice to the demand, pointing out if there had been appropriate investment before the fires, there could have been a much greater saving in terms of losses to fire damage.
“It’s all well and good for Premier Daniel Andrews to thank firefighters for their bravery, but he seems less than enthusiastic when it comes to delivering suitable equipment for them,” Mr Quilty said.
“If Mr Andrews had been more insightful, he would’ve understood that investing in preparing and equipping the CFA earlier would have saved hundreds of millions of dollars in terms of cleaning up and rebuilding communities.
“This is a story which the media have been following for some time, so Mr Andrews has had plenty of time to deliver replacements for the 522 of a total of 1942 tankers which are more than two decades old.
“If we are expecting the CFA to defend our homes and our communities, it’s only right that they are given appropriate tools for the job.
“I know from experience that a good tanker is the only ally a firefighter has when a fire front is bearing down.”
Mr Quilty said he was happy to support Mr Warrington’s request for the additional funds.
“In rural electorates, such as Northern Victoria, we have seen how important the CFA is in protecting us,” Mr Quilty said.
“Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville has claimed that the firefighters are funded to provide a world-class response, but it seems that she is ignoring the expert opinion of the state’s chief firefighter.
“It’s disappointing that Labor’s focus on Melbourne is so blatant that they are happy to risk firefighters’ safety by leaving them to fight fires in trucks, which are only five years off historic vehicle status.”