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Outgoing MFB chief not gravely ill: wife

AAP logoAAP 25/09/2016 Julian Drape

The wife of outgoing Melbourne fire chief Peter Rau has rejected the Victorian government's suggestion he resigned because he was "gravely ill", instead blaming a culture of bullying.

Acting Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville on Friday said Mr Rau resigned as the MFB chief officer because he was gravely ill with an illness related to his work as a firefighter of 30 years.

But Tracey Rau on Monday said: "He is not gravely ill ... and this statement has unduly concerned and upset many of our family and friends and we have had to reassure people that it is not the case."

"The minister has said this purely to distract from the truth," Ms Rau said in an email to 3AW.

Peter Rau has an auto-immune condition he's managed for almost a decade which is aggravated by stress, his wife said.

"The main reason my husband has had to resign is due to stress as a result of bullying by the United Firefighters Union and the current situation of the EBA."

Ms Rau said her husband had lodged a WorkCover claim that's been accepted.

MFB chief executive Jim Higgins on Friday said Mr Rau would officially finish his term on October 6 "to focus on his health".

Mr Rau waded into Victoria's controversial firefighters' pay deal negotiations in June, warning the government that subjecting the MFB to a similar enterprise bargaining agreement as that proposed for the CFA would put lives at risk.

Emergency Services Minister James Merlino in August called Mr Rau's intervention "alarmist, irresponsible and reckless".

Ms Neville on Monday insisted she hadn't intended to cause the Rau family any distress.

"As advised to staff and myself ... by the MFB, Peter had chosen to stand down to deal with his health issues," she said in a statement.

"This is a difficult time for Peter and his family and I only wish him and his family all the best for the future."

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy says the government is waging a campaign of misinformation concerning those who've quit the fire services.

In June Labor sacked the previous CFA board after it refused to endorse the pay deal over concerns it gave the UFU too much power.

The long-running saga has also claimed the scalps of former emergency services minister Jane Garrett, CFA chief executive Lucinda Nolan and CFA chief officer Joe Buffone.

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