Dan Andrews cops heat for Victorian firefighter exodus

Victoria's Country Fire Authority at risk as firefighters resign.

Dan Andrews cops heat for Victorian firefighter exodus
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Volunteer firefighters are leaving in droves, prompting Victoria’s Country Fire Authority to reassure citizens that their ability to fight bushfires remains strong.

But despite the CFA’s assurances, the system is in danger of collapsing if the trend in resignations continues.

Recently released figures show that more than 10,000 workers have left the force since Daniel Andrews became premier, with volunteer numbers plummeting from 38,335 to 28,934.

News of dwindling numbers in the CFA could not come at a worse time for Victorians as the Bureau of Meteorology warned of coming dry conditions that would increase fire risk.

Emergency Volunteer Awareness Campaign director Garth Head warned that the number of firefighting staff was approaching a critical point.

“The problem is getting worse,” he said.

“The number of very experienced senior volunteers who in the past made up a significant proportion of qualified major incident controllers, incident management team members and field sector and division commanders is at an all-time low."

Mr Head said that previous governments the minimum level for volunteers at 40,000 firefighters in order to allow rotating rosters to avoid exhaustion and to enable simultaneous response to emergencies.

A CFA spokesperson said that the sector remained strong despite the drop in volunteer numbers.

"CFA has never drawn on its full pool of operational volunteers in any given year,” the spokesperson said.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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