Still no deal on CFA EBA

The Country Fire Authority and Emergency Services Minister are confident a new enterprise bargaining agreement will be signed “in due course”.

The dispute surrounding the proposed CFA EBA remains unresolved after more than 1200 days and the resignations of former emergency services minister Jane Garrett and ex-chief executive Lucinda Nolan, along with the sacking of the former CFA Board.

The current CFA Board had a scheduled meeting on Monday where there was public expectation a new deal would be signed off, but emerged late afternoon with no resolution.

A CFA spokesperson told The Express “a range of matters” were discussed at Monday’s meeting.

“CFA is continuing to work through the proposed agreement and associated costs, and is working closely with Treasury to ensure CFA is appropriately funded over the life of the agreement,” the spokesperson said.

“CFA is also continuing to consult with all other relevant stakeholders. A decision will be reached in due course.”

Despite the delay in reaching a deal, Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said he was satisfied a new agreement would be reached.

He also hosed down reports the industrial deal could cost more than $663 million.

“The costings used by those who do not want to see this dispute resolved are based on false assumptions and are wrong,” Mr Merlino said.

“The Department of Treasury and Finance’s costings have undergone rigorous financial analysis and there is adequate provision to account for the EBA within the budget.”

Member for Morwell Russell Northe said a new EBA should not be signed until all matters were resolved, regardless of the timeframe.

“The problem seems to be that the State Government and Emergency Services Minister seems to be suggesting to just sign up to the EBA as the dispute has gone on too long,” Mr Northe said.

“But the feedback I’ve got from volunteers is why sign an EBA that still contains clauses that gives volunteers significant concerns just because of the timeframe?”

He said the concerns of volunteers were based on the operational framework of firefighting and not pay increases.

The wording of the EBA also needed to be clearer to avoid misinterpretation of certain clauses, he said.

It is understood another CFA Board meeting is scheduled for tomorrow.