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Russel Northe MLA:
Government called upon to support local businesses – Northe

A call for the Government for a commitment that all goods, services and contracts are not taken away from regional businesses.

By Portal Admin - 8th February 2021 - Back to News

Member for Morwell Russell Northe has used the opening of the Victorian Parliament today, to question the Government regarding the removal of valuable Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) drycleaning contracts to local suppliers.

Sudden stoppage of dry-cleaning services

"I was devastated to be contacted by local businesses lamenting that dry-cleaning services have suddenly ceased to be locally delivered, for FRV’s personnel based at three Latrobe Valley fire-stations" Mr Northe began.

Local Latrobe Valley businesses have been regularly providing dry cleaning services to the integrated FRV Traralgon Morwell and Latrobe West stations for countless years– which during the current COVID-19 pandemic, greatly increased their chance of survival with other income sources severely limited.

"For a local business to receive a letter in the days leading up to Christmas, indicating that their services would not be required, as of 1 January 2021 is disgraceful" Mr Northe exclaimed. This vital ongoing work has now been moved to a Melbourne based business which makes no logical sense and one can only assume that the Latrobe Valley is not the only regional area of Victoria whereby local services have been cut. I’m certain that local FRV personnel would want to continue to use local businesses where possible, so I call upon the Minister to get to the bottom of how this decision was arrived at and then fix it" Mr Northe continued.

"Country businesses deserve fair treatment, which I’m disappointed to see that they have not been treated with respect at all. That’s why today in Parliament, I urged the Government and the Minister to reverse this ridiculous decision and to seek a commitment that the provision of other local goods and services would not also be cut when it comes to our FRV and CFA emergency service personnel and our local fire stations. Unfortunately, the Ministers answer gave no comfort that this decision will be reversed which is not good news for regional and Latrobe Valley based businesses" Mr Northe concluded.

Question without notice on FRV contracts

Minister, on the 1st January 2021, I sent you an email to which I am yet to receive a reply. The matter was in relation to an urgent issue, whereby Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) have ceased utilising local dry-cleaning services for FRV personnel based at the three Latrobe Valley integrated fire-stations. As I understand it, the cleaning of FRV uniforms including non-operational uniforms is now being rendered by a Melbourne based firm, much to the chagrin of Latrobe Valley based businesses and local dry-cleaners who were informed just prior to Christmas their services would be terminated come the new year.

Given significant industry downturn in the Latrobe Valley and the economic impacts of COVID-19 being felt heavily in my community, do you support this decision to take away much needed work from regional businesses in the Latrobe Valley?

Supplementary question to the Minister of Emergency Services

Minister, will you now intervene and overturn this ridiculous decision, and ensure that FRV dry-cleaning services are returned to local businesses in country Victoria, and further will you make a commitment that no other goods, services and contracts are also taken away from local regional businesses where FRV and CFA personnel are based?


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