MEDIA RELEASE

3 June 2020

 

Tim Quilty pushes for action on CFA radios to help firefighters on border with NSW

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty has called for a solution to firefighter radio problems which could have cost lives during the summer bushfires.

Fires along the Victorian and NSW borders are tackled by the Victorian CFA and NSW RFS, but the two fire services are unable to talk to each other via radio due to differences in standards.

This issue, according to Mr Quilty, is “silly” and needs to be resolved.

“In the wake of this fire season we were told that the Government really cared about fixing fire management,” Mr Quilty said in Parliament last night.

“Well, barely a few months later, and fire management has been wiped off the agenda by the news cycle. Coronavirus might appear more urgent right now, but bushfires still matter.

“Being able to talk to each other will save lives and stop fires.”

Mr Quilty highlighted the issue as being one which is easily ignored by metropolitan policy makers but is a daily concern in regional Victoria.

“NSW may be a long way away from Melbourne, but it is close to Wodonga. Or to Walwa, as the bushfire travels, as we saw only too clearly this year in the fire,” Mr Quilty said.

“The two sides of the border are not necessarily able to communicate with each other by radio at the team level.

“This is silly and could be easily corrected with the political will.”

Mr Quilty called on Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville to push for compatibility between the Victoria and NSW radio systems but, recognising the long-term nature of this, also asked that border crews in both States install each other’s radios in all their tankers.

“Do this now, before the next fire season.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819