Nationals WA Emergency Services spokesman Colin de Grussa MLC has called the McGowan Government’s latest capitulation to union influence a “disgrace”.
The Labor Government recently announced that the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Office of Emergency Management will integrate, removing the OEM’s capacity to provide independent oversight.
“This is yet another example of the Labor Government being dictated to by the unions, and proves the premier has all the authority of a wet lettuce leaf.
“The OEM had the capacity to play an important role as the independent body that managed the distribution of the Emergency Services Levy, but will now have no independence.”
The United Firefighters Union recently stated that they are taking industrial action to stop the Department of Fire and Emergency Services appointing non-firefighters to leadership positions without the union’s approval.
Mr de Grussa said that by capitulating to union pressure, the Premier and Minister for Emergency Services have lost focus on what is actually important.
“Emergency services is about protecting people’s lives and property, it is not about the union feathering its own nest,” Mr de Grussa said.
Mr de Grussa supported the appointment of firefighting professionals into leadership positions, however said that the priority should be hiring the right person for the job.
The UFU argue that senior positions including district officers and superintendents are only open to employees who have firefighting “or equivalent” competences as agreed by the UFU.
“It’s this kind of attitude that further deepens the divide between volunteers in emergency services and the organisational hierarchy and makes it difficult to attract and retain those volunteers.
“These continued failings in Emergency Services management are symptomatic of incompetent McGowan Government ministers failing ordinary Western Australian’s.
“Marginal Labor MPs will be hunkering down for their last few years in office.”