Australia — Victoria’s volunteer firefighters are concerned that new paid fire officers will be employed at the expense of equipment upgrades.
The State Government’s response to the Black Saturday Bushfires Royal Commission includes an extra 342 paid firefighters over six years.
In a statement, the Country Fire Authority says the extra paid staff will support volunteers.
But the Bendigo region president of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria, Peter Thompson, says the money could be better used on training or equipment.
“We’re starting to see a dribble effect, some of the brigades could be forced out of training they’re trying to do or limiting numbers of who can be trained but also equipment may happen to be lessened,” he said.
Mr Thompson says the move is affecting morale.
“I see it starting to filter through because this deal was done before the volunteers knew about it, before our association knew about it. But now we do know about it is filtering through to the volunteers, it is having some effect,” he said.