The United Firefighters Union criticised the State Budget, saying not enough money was allocated to professional firefighters working for Fire Rescue Victoria, FRV.

Union secretary Peter Marshall said budget funding for FRV had not kept pace with inflation, essentially functioning as a budget cut.

Mr Marshall said a new FRV station was needed in Mernda to help the group meet response times.

Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green, who is a member of the volunteer-based Country Fire Authority, CFA, said FRV had not raised the issue with her.

She said Mernda’s existing CFA station was relatively new and was adequate for the needs of the community.

“Mernda Fire Station has volunteers who turn out on primary calls, and they are backed up by career firefighters and also the volunteers at Doreen,” she said.

“These things are always driven by whether individual stations are meeting response times, and I haven’t had any feedback that that is an issue.

“It’s up to the commissioner to look at the boundaries [of the CFA and FRV] and where they’re needed. I’m sure it’s something that will be looked at from time to time.

“I understand Peter Marshall wanting to grow his membership, but volunteers are also committed to firefighting, and I understand that being a long-term volunteer myself.”

Ms Green said she was satisfied with the level of budget investment in Yan Yean during her 20 years as the local member, most of which came with Labor holding the balance of power in Parliament.

“Twenty years ago there were about 1500 people on the electoral roll in [Mernda and Doreen], and in that time we’ve built six new schools and are now upgrading the historic one. That’s lovely to look back on,” she said.

“We have upgraded every single fire station, and just about every ambulance branch in the area has been built during the time of our government, whether it’s at Mernda, Whittlesea, Wallan, Diamond Creek or Kinglake.

“It’s good to tick those things off and I look forward to turning the sod for the community hospital to be built at the Mernda town centre in coming months.

“We’re continuing to invest in TAFE. We’re always adding courses to the free TAFE list, which is good for people wanting to enter careers or change careers. I think a lot of people have reflected after COVID that they want to do that.”

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