The Andrews Government will again attempt to reintroduce the controversial Fire Services Bill to the Victorian Upper House by the end of the month.
Liberal Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, said it’s passing will be on the proviso that it has the support of cross bench MP, James Purcell, also from Western Victoria.
“While no amendments have been sighted, the pursual of this reckless legislation is no doubt buoyed by the UFU signoff of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA).
“Chuffed to the brim with his pay-back deal for his union mates, the Premier now believes he can push this legislation through on the coat-tails of this $150 million sweetener.
“The MFB deal comes with veto powers unlike any other seen in this country. It has nothing to do with community safety, and everything to do with union domination”, Mr Ramsay said.
He said the MFB deal goes to the heart of Daniel Andrews’ office.
“The stench of corruption is rife in this latest deal with ex AWU bagmen like John Paul Blandthorn as Dan Andrews’ Industrial Advisor acting as chief negotiator of the EBA.
“Blandthorn is the same man also tied up with ex Australian Workers Union (AWU) boss and now Member for Western Metropolitan Region, Cesar Melham.
“Both these men had to front up to the Royal Commission into Union Governance and Corruption over a pay deal with Clean Event that allegedly ripped off cleaners.
“The deal gets murkier with JP Blandthorn also the brother of ALP Member for Pascoe Vale, Lizzie Blandthorn. Prior to being an MP, she was the Chief of Staff for James Merlino.
“James Merlino is now the Minister for Emergency Services and deeply entrenched in the ugly deal that has been done. The family ties enabled this Government direct access to the bargaining table that delivered the biggest dud-deal this state has seen.”
Victorians will ultimately pay for the deal through an increase in the Fire Services Levy (FSL).
“The MFB deal and impending agreement with career CFA will directly cost Victorians through what will be a huge spike in the FSL.
“The CFA’s greater reliance on the FSL for funding will mean the FSL will have to go up.
“Volunteer firefighters will need our support like never before.”