February 14, 2018
Emergency Services Minister’s first step is backward
Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Steve Thomas says the changes announced by Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan to the administration of the Office of Emergency Management is an embarrassing capitulation to the unions by the McGowan Government.
“The announcement is a blatant sop to the United Firefighters Union and a slap in the face for bushfire volunteers who have now waited almost a year for any clarity from the McGowan Government on the future of a country fire service,” Dr Thomas said.
“The Government promised a response on the country fire service by Christmas last year, and instead, it has simply shuffled the administrative deckchairs and put the Office of Emergency Management under the direct control of the Commissioner of Emergency Services, and by default the United Firefighters Union.”
The OEM is the secretariat and support for the State Emergency Management Committee.
“The State Emergency Management Committee is chaired by a former Federal Labor MP, and includes Premier Mark McGowan’s Director General, but notably, also includes the Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner of Emergency Services” Dr Thomas said.
“This means the new structure concocted by Mr Logan has the Commissioner of Emergency Services as a member of a committee that answers to himself.”
Dr Thomas said that previously the OEM, which Minister Logan dismissively referred to as an unfocused “satellite agency” had under the previous structure provided important independent role.
“Mr Logan’s changes will ludicrously remove that independence and put the OEM firmly at the whim the Commissioner and the United Firefighters Union,” Dr Thomas said.
“This poorly thought out sop to the union is a particular insult to regional bushfire volunteers who have been waiting for a major response to the Ferguson Enquiry recommendations from this Government.
“Fran Logan does however seem to be able to move fast enough when supporting the unions’ agenda,” Dr Thomas said.