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Vic premier will co-operate with CFA trial

AAP logoAAP 17/08/2016 By Helen Velissaris

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says he will co-operate fully if he is called upon in the trial for the controversial CFA pay deal.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) successfully blocked paid firefighters from voting for the enterprise bargaining agreement in the Supreme Court on Wednesday, and will head to a hearing next month.

Premier Andrews said on Thursday while he thinks the CFA won't need to call on the government during the trial, he would co-operate if he were needed.

"On any matter I will of course be fully co-operative," he told reporters on Thursday.

Mr Andrews says his focus now is "on making sure we are absolutely ready for what will be a very difficult fire season".

"If this had been left, it would have been five years - how many more fire seasons would we have gone through with this matter unresolved?

"I wasn't prepared to do that."

Mr Andrews pushed the CFA deal through cabinet earlier in the year, causing the former emergency services minister Jane Garrett to quit.

It also claimed the scalps of CFA chief executive Lucinda Nolan, the CFA board and CFA chief officer Joe Buffon.

All believed the deal gave too much power to the union at the expense of the CFA's 60,000 volunteers.

The new proposed EBA was endorsed by the CFA board one week ago, and was ready to head to a vote by paid firefighters until the VFBV launched an injunction.

Supreme Court Justice Michael McDonald on Wednesday said the agreement should be subject to an urgent hearing, listed to start on September 22.

The CFA has given an undertaking that it won't put the deal to paid firefighters for a vote until the trial is finalised.

CFA chief executive Frances Diver labelled the delay disappointing, but said the authority would comply with the court.

VFBV chief executive Andrew Ford said the community had thrown its support behind volunteers.

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