Edwards slams delay

CFA budget cuts have delayed the construction of the new Kangaroo Flat fire station, according to member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards. 

Ms Edwards said the CFA and Metropolitan Fire Brigade had $66 million cut from their budgets by the state government. 

“The new station was committed to in 2010 and my main concern is it will be delayed for another three years,” she said. 

“That means the Kangaroo Flat CFA brigade and Kangaroo Flat community will be waiting six years for a new station. 

“It’s just not good enough and it’s a direct result of Liberal National government cuts to the CFA.”

Ms Edwards said the delays showed the government couldn’t handle infrastructure projects. 

But Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum said it was up to the CFA to plan and manage the project. 

“Ultimately what Maree Edwards is suggesting is the politicians should be saying which stations should be built,” he said. 

“She wants the government to put a time frame on when we’re going to build the station, but this goes against what most, if not all Victorians would want from their government. 

“It’s certainly not our way of doing business where the government dictates to organisations like the CFA as to which stations need to be built and when.”

Mr Drum said the government had provided a record budget last year to implement Black Saturday Royal Commission recommendations, which had reduced this year. 

But Ms Edwards said not all recommendations had been implemented. 

CFA spokesman Gerard Scholten said the organisation was upgrading stations according to need. 

“A lot of stations are literally a tin shed, and that’s all,” he said. 

“Many don’t have toilets or meeting rooms. 

“We’re in the phase of building 60 rural fire stations currently and we have a lot of tin sheds out in the bush, they’re the priority.”

Mr Scholten said planning for the Kangaroo Flat station would start this year and the whole project would take about three years to complete.

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