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Victorian fire panel paid $10k a day

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August 08, 2017

A Victorian parliamentary committee will report into a plan to split the Country Fire Authority.

A six-week parliamentary winter break did nothing to extinguish a heated debate over whether Victoria should split its Country Fire Authority.

After the government failed to push its controversial reforms through parliament at the end of June, an upper house committee powered through evidence from more than 40 fire stations, government departments and fire service executives to examine the changes.

The committee's report is due on Tuesday, the day parliament resumes for the second half of 2017.

The Andrews government wants to make the CFA volunteer-only and merge career firefighters with their Metropolitan Fire Brigade counterparts to create a new, larger, paid organisation - Fire Rescue Victoria.

The government insists reform is needed to improve a system that is more than 50 years old and break a pay dispute that has seen a minister resign, fire board sacked and the federal Turnbull government intervene.

At the inquiry, United Firefighters Union secretary Peter Marshall said without the reforms, the industrial warfare that has plagued the services in recent years would continue.

Adding further fuel to the debate is the delayed release of a Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission report into bullying and harassment in the fire services, held back by court action.

The UFU is trying to stop the review being released, claiming flawed methodology and that it was beyond the commission's powers.

The matter was adjourned to September, prompting the opposition to demand a delay in voting on the reforms until the report is released.

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