Australia — The State Government will keep Victorias three fire agencies separate, in line with the recommendations of the Bushfires Royal Commission.
The commitment came after newly-appointed Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said part of his job would be to consider the possibility of merging the states rural fire services over time.
Police and Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said the government is on record a number of times as saying it clearly stated it does not support the notion of a single fire service.
The system we have has served Victoria well and with the new Fire Services Commissioner sitting above three firefighting services, we will see even better partnerships between those organisations, Mr Cameron said.
Weve got one of the great volunteer firefighting services in the world, its called the CFA, and we dont want to lose that and the 60,000 volunteers who are part of it.
Shadow Minister for Bushfire Response and Leader of the Nationals, Peter Ryan, also maintained the Coalitions commitment to keeping the fire services separate.
Under no circumstances will the Coalition contemplate merging the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the Country Fire Authority and the Department of Sustainability, Mr Ryan said.
These three services each perform an extremely important role in their own right and as such, they should remain independent.
Mr Ryan said while the Coalition respected Mr Lapsleys opinion that consideration should be given to the possibility of merging the states fire services, such a proposition was not Coalition policy. There will be no merger of services under a Coalition Government that is the end of the matter as far as we are concerned, Mr Ryan said.