The Baillieu-Ryan Government is refusing to fund upgrades to four local CFA stations across the Surf Coast, the Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Danielle Green, said today.
Visiting Jan Juc with Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney, Ms Green said the Government’s refusal to provide funding for local fire stations comes on top of maps released last month which have caused confusion about whether Jan Juc is at risk from bushfire.
“The Baillieu-Ryan Government’s bushfire preparation across South Barwon is in a shambles,” she said.
“The local CFA is the first and last defence for communities during a bushfire, and they must be maintained properly,” Ms Green said.
“Connewarre, Gnarwarre and Modewarre fire stations all missed out on much needed upgrades, while Armstrong Creek, whose population is growing, missed out on a new Emergency Services Hub.
“It’s disappointing the Baillieu-Ryan Government has not provided the funding to match Labor’s commitment to upgrade or rebuild 250 CFA stations across Victoria.
“The Baillieu-Ryan Government has ‘pledged’ to match Labor’s commitment – and yet it has committed no funding for further upgrades in the future.
“Liberal MP Andrew Katos has failed to make the case for upgrades to CFA stations ahead of this year’s budget. He must now promise they will be funded during this term.”
Ms Tierney said Mr Katos must clarify whether the Jan Juc community was at risk, following the release of the contradictory Bushfire Prone Area Maps.
“A large part of Jan Juc has not been identified as bushfire-prone by the Baillieu-Ryan Government’s bushfire mapping system, which was released last month,” Ms Tierney said.
“Confusingly, however, mapping from the CFA’s Victorian Fire Risk Register clearly classifies the Jan Juc township as having an ‘extreme’ or ‘very high’ risk rating.”
Since Black Saturday, the former Labor Government held Fire Action Week in the first weeks of October to raise awareness and encourage Victorians to prepare, plan and be safe.
“Under Mr Baillieu, however, Fire Action Week won’t be held until much later in the year,” she said. “The Opposition doesn’t think this is good enough and we are encouraging people to prepare for the fire season now.
“As part of Labor’s campaign to prepare Victoria, I am calling on Mr Baillieu to invest in these local CFA stations and clear up the ongoing confusion created by conflicting sets of maps.”