Inquiry into the CFS gets the green light

The Liberal Party's move to establish a Parliamentary inquiry to investigate issues within the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) has been successful in the Legislative Council.

Whilst the initial plan was to establish a Select Committee to investigate serious matters and concerns raised by CFS members, it was deemed more appropriate to refer the inquiry to the existing Parliamentary Committee on Occupational Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation.

Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Adrian Pederick, said he is pleased that CFS staff members and volunteers will be given this opportunity to speak freely about their concerns with the organisation.

"I am proud that we stayed the course and came through on our commitment to give CFS volunteers and staff a safe space to air their concerns openly without fear of repercussion," Mr Pederick said.

"We know there are serious issues within the CFS that are being kept quiet. In the months since announcing we would be moving the establish this inquiry, I was contacted by multiple people thanking the Liberal Party for raising the matter."

The Committee will also look at the adequacy and state of facilities at CFS stations across South Australia along with the effectiveness of the CFS's facility and appliance replacement programs. 

Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional South Australia, Ben Hood, said having this committee was vital for understanding all facets of the CFS and how it can be improved.

"Our CFS volunteers are the ones who put their lives at risk each time they are called to an incident. They deserve to be provided with the support and amenities they need to protect our communities, but most of all they deserve to be listened to," Mr Hood said.

"I have heard from many involved with the CFS that they are terrified of speaking up and this goes to the crux of the problem. Volunteers and staff feel they don't have the power to speak about issues they see on the ground and when they do, they are punished.

"It is my true hope that this inquiry will enable genuine, proper and thorough investigation into the issues CFS volunteers have raised over the past few months."

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  • Adrian Pederick