Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:56): My question is to the Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services. Is the minister aware of concerns raised by regional CFS brigades about access to facilities and resources and, if so, what is being done to address those concerns? With your leave, sir, and that of the house, I will explain.
Mr PEDERICK: On 22 October in the Sunday Mail it was reported that firefighters in some regions say they are not being provided with adequate facilities at their local stations, with one CFS captain quoted as saying, 'City people just don't understand how we operate with so little.'
The Hon. J.K. SZAKACS (Cheltenham—Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services) (14:56): I thank the member for his question, and I am happy to go through that in some detail. Perhaps if I pick up the latter part of his question and make my way through it about those city folk who have no idea about the sacrifices and the commitment that CFS volunteers make. We are certainly a government that understands that the best way that we can hear from regions is to get out and meet with regional people. That is why our government, led by the Premier, has instituted immediately—in fact, in opposition we undertook this as well—country cabinets.
One thing that I have been very proud to do since becoming minister is to meet firsthand with dozens and dozens of brigades and groups around the state, including hundreds of members. I will tell you what, for the member's benefit, they have had some choice words to say about the former Liberal government, that's for sure. If you talk about a base, the Minister for Planning mentioned before about the Liberals abandoning their base. It is quite extraordinary the feedback that is consistent right across the state, generally in places that very few Labor politicians have ever been welcomed into with such warmth that I and my country cabinet colleagues have felt.
The member for Hartley tried—how hard he tried is another question, but he tried—and his predecessor, who I think is still looking for a job, tried. These two as former ministers oversaw a culture in the CFS of fingers in the ears, don't listen to the problems, don't listen to the needs.
I can report, for the member's benefit, just on some of the conversations that I have had this week in the South-East. I met with representatives, volunteers and leaders from nine different CFS brigades in the South-East. I also had some really informative, I should say—and the member may be interested in this information—conversations with a couple of members of the Hynam brigade, which in 2019 did have an upgrade to the station planned. For some reason—and I have not quite understood why and with what political interference—that was taken off the table. What I have taken to the good people of that brigade is to personally follow it up. That is what I get to do when I have personal and meaningful conversations with volunteers across our state.
I have also been able to inform them that the replacement—and I am not sure whether it says 34P or another appliance—will be due in the next 11 to 12 months. Again, that wasn't information that was well explained to those wonderful, hardworking volunteers there.
In addition to that, we are a government that understands that we need to back in our emergency services across the state. That is why we are a government—unlike the former—that has invested heavily into improving the amenity of CFS trucks, appliances and stations around the state—
The Hon. V.A. Tarzia: We built HQ.
The Hon. J.K. SZAKACS: The Premier built that. I hear an interjection from the member for Hartley: he built HQ. Do you know who started that? The Premier after four dark years—
The SPEAKER: Order!
The Hon. J.K. SZAKACS: What I can confirm to the member—and I do respect and have recognised in this place his service as a volunteer and as a frontline FFU capability; I know that he listened—is that I will continue to listen, not something the former government was known for.
The SPEAKER: Order! Well, in fact, member for Hammond I was going to turn to the government side, because, as I understand it, it is only the second government question. I might not be right about that but I think that I am.
The SPEAKER: Order! There has been the member for Elizabeth and also some questions from the crossbench, but this will be only the second government question and therefore it is entirely appropriate to turn to my right. The member for Adelaide.