Gippsland › Latest news › Russel Northe MLA

Emergency response rules negatively impacting the ability and capacity of CFA volunteers for regional Victoria

Member for Morwell Russell Northe has used Parliament this week to raise a serious matter that could affect many regional communities in Victoria.

By news@gippsland - 19th August 2022 - Back to News

Member for Morwell Russell Northe raised a constituency question on behalf of CFA volunteers who are concerned that COVID vaccination rules are compromising their ability and capacity to attend an emergency event. "A number of local CFA brigades have highlighted to me the fact that CFA volunteers are unable to be an active member of their brigade unless they have been triple vaccinated which seems to be a nonsensical and inconsistent application of COVID rules." Mr Northe commenced.

Emergency response team have given so much to their communities, yet even if they are double vaccinated, they are still currently precluded from assisting an emergency because of this outdated restriction

Emergency response team have given so much to their communities, yet even if they are double vaccinated, they are still currently precluded from assisting an emergency because of this outdated restriction

Unnecessary and outdated rules

Mr Northe said, "You have the scenario where a volunteer who is double vaccinated is essentially banned from CFA activities until they receive a third dose. It's not unusual for CFA volunteers to work together, socialise together and undertake other activities together."

"Their vaccination status has no bearing on any of this, but as soon as you put on the CFA uniform the rules change and you have to wonder why this is the case and on what basis - who are we actually trying to protect."

"Surely a person in a dangerous situation and who is relying upon the urgent attendance of first responders like CFA volunteers - they aren't going to care if their rescuer is double vaccinated or triple vaccinated. To compromise the ability of these incredible people to respond to an emergency event with these outdated rules really is nonsensical in my view and particularly on the eve of what could be a dangerous fire season" Mr Northe continued.

Response efforts constrained

Mr Northe said the inconsistency of the rules were also confusing given that SES volunteers are seemingly exempted from responding to an emergency incident or attending critical training if they are not fully vaccinated.

"Our amazing SES volunteers also do an incredible job in our community and whilst there are a number of limitations on what they are able to do if they are not fully vaccinated at least they are sensibly allowed to respond to an emergency and attend critical training and therefore this not necessarily negatively impacting their response to an emergency unlike CFA volunteers" Mr Northe said.

"Why there is not parity between SES and CFA I really don't know but it doesn't seem to make any sense and it's incumbent upon the government and the relevant ministers to fix this mess and ensure CFA volunteers have the capacity and the ability to respond to an emergency event in their community when they are needed and not have their response efforts constrained by bureaucratic nonsense" Mr Northe concluded.

Pictures from CFA ( Country Fire Authority ) Facebook page.


Source: www.gippsland.com

Published by: news@gippsland.com



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