Gagged firefighting volunteers will have the freedom and safety to speak freely and testify before a new Select Committee investigating the Country Fire Service.
Following new and alarming reports from CFS volunteers across South Australia, the Liberal Party will establish a Select Committee in the Legislative Council to investigate reports that stations have been left to rot, while others are merely sheds without adequate toilet or changeroom facilities.
Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Adrian Pederick, has condemned startling revelations that volunteers are being gagged by the CFS for raising safety concerns and speaking out about a lack of support within the organisation.
"South Australians need to be assured that CFS volunteers are being appropriately supported and resourced - especially when we know the state is in for a dangerous fire season," Mr Pederick said.
"The CFS is so highly valued, and it is crucial that we get to the bottom of these concerns.
"We need our volunteers to be happy and have their head in the game, not worried about whether they have adequate toilet facilities."
Shadow Assistant Minister for Regional South Australia, Ben Hood, moved a notice of motion to establish a Select Committee to give CFS volunteers a safe space to speak publicly without fear of suspension.
"Our volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line for the benefit and safety of our community - they are our husbands, wives, sons, daughters and friends," Mr Hood said.
"Current facilities at some of our regional CFS stations are simply not up to the mark and it is unacceptable that those who risk their lives for our regional communities are not being provided with the support and amenities they need."
The Select Committee will assess mechanisms of support and investigate processes and procedures to ensure our volunteer firefighters are as effective as they can be.
"This Select Committee will provide a transparent mechanism to ensure our volunteers have the support they need and I hope that at the end of this process, more volunteers will be encouraged to join the CFS," Mr Hood said.