Posted on 23. Feb, 2011 in News

Shadow Minister for Volunteers and Emergency Services, Danielle Green has accused the Baillieu Government of hoodwinking the public and short-changing Victoria’s emergency service volunteers.

“The Baillieu Government has only taken three months to cut funds for emergency services volunteers,” Ms Green said.

“During last year’s election, Labor promised $13.6 million for the Community Safety Emergency Support Program for the next year alone.

“Deputy Premier Peter Ryan has cynically renamed the program in an attempt to spin the fact the Baillieu Government will spend only $11 million over four years, which is a paltry $2.75 million a year.

“This means at least one hundred worthy volunteer groups each year will miss out on vital grants during four years of the Baillieu Government’s first term.

Ms Green said Mr Ryan was attempting to spin the funding cut as great news for emergency services volunteers.

“The self congratulatory Baillieu Government has given itself a big pat on the back for cutting millions of dollars from programs supporting emergency services volunteers,” she said.

“The work these volunteers do is invaluable, providing Victorians a hand when tragedy strikes, and they deserve to be funded properly.”

Ms Green said Mr Ryan’s announcement was nothing but spin, with the program remaining exactly the same, except for a new name and nearly 75 percent less funds.

“Emergency volunteers will not be fooled by a simple name change: they will know when they have been dudded to the tune of over $10 million,” she said.

“If Mr Ryan wants volunteers to ‘have the best equipment available’, then how will he explain that to the hundreds of groups who will miss out on funding altogether?” she said.

“The Baillieu Government was elected to fix the problems, not to cut funding to hard working

volunteers who worked so hard during the recent floods and fires.”

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