Surely when a Premier’s carefully chosen Board baulks at signing off on a union agreement, it is time for the Premier to reconsider his support for the union’s position. Not in Victoria where Premier Andrews appears beholden to the union regardless of the consequences.

The extent of the Victorian United Firefighters’ Union over-reach and the seriousness of the consequences is underscored by this latest turn of events. At issue is the battle by volunteers and the former Country Fire Authority leadership against the union’s incursions into their sphere through industrial relations.

A few weeks ago, the Victorian State Labor government sacked the former Country Fire Authority Board because it had rejected the Union’s Enterprise Agreement proposals.

The new hand picked Board that was expected to immediately ratify the union agreement in line with the Premier’s wishes.

The new Board has met without ratifying the agreement yet. It is a sign that even the new, hand picked CFA Board is troubled by the details in the union demands.

Below is an abbreviated version of an article covering the latest events in this issue.



“CFA Crisis: Hand-picked board fails to endorse workplace deal”

The hand-picked CFA board has failed to endorse the controversial workplace agreement with the firefighters’ union at its latest board meeting.

Emergency Services Minister James Merlino made it clear on Monday that it was up to the board to ratify the deal, now that the government has backed the workplace proposal.

The CFA board – which replaced the one sacked by the Andrews government for blocking the workplace agreement in June –  had a scheduled meeting on Monday where there was some expectation that the deal would be signed off.

But after a marathon sitting no resolution was made, with sources saying some board members are not happy with signing off on the proposal yet.

Opposition to the deal – which critics say will undermine diversity, hand undue power to the union, diminish the role of volunteers and stop management from running the organisation effectively – has also triggered the resignation of emergency services minister Jane Garrett, CFA chief executive Lucinda Nolan and chief fire officer Joe Buffone.

A spokesman for the CFA said “a range of matters were discussed” at Monday’s meeting.

“CFA is continuing to work through the proposed agreement and is consulting with all relevant stakeholders. A decision will be reached in due course,” he said.

The failure to resolve the workplace agreement is fuelling anger among some in Mr Andrews’ caucus over the botched handling of the issue.

There is also concern that the dispute will spread to the MFB where a similar battle has been burning between management and the union.


You can read the full article by Richard Willingham, published in Melbourne’s The Age on 8th August at


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