My question is to Minister Jennings representing the Premier. On behalf of my constituents in the badly bushfire-affected Northern Victoria electorate, my question is about firefighting. Minister, CFA volunteer brigades continue to be forced to individually fundraise for their own equipment, including essential operational equipment. Even in cases where they happen to be awarded volunteer emergency services equipment program grants, they still need to contribute $1 of their own money for every $2 of government funding. Paramedics do not have to—and nor should they—pay for their ambulances and medical devices, and police do not have to pay for their tasers, guns, vehicles and so on and so forth. So why is this the case for CFA firefighters, who have yet again proven in recent weeks how amazing and invaluable they are in saving multiple lives and properties, particularly in regional Victoria?
I thank the minister for his answer. I would like to begin my supplementary question with just one example of the widespread consequences of the current funding situation. The Koondrook CFA’s only fire truck is 32 years old. It is an unsafe non-dual cab with a leaky radiator, and it is in constant need of repairs. Among other difficulties, the brigade also desperately requires an extension to its shed and equipment to adequately wash its fire hoses and to provide change rooms etc. It does not even own basic firefighting breathing apparatus—a situation that seems at odds with the government’s recent legislative recognition of firefighters’ elevated cancer risks. Minister, in view of the many severe shortfalls and safety risks that result from the current funding arrangements, when will CFA volunteers be consulted about and involved in helping design an improved model that is better resourced and tailored to their needs?