New chapter in Vic's fire rescue stoush

Fire Rescue Victoria brings career firefighters from the CFA and MFB together under one umbrella.
Fire Rescue Victoria brings career firefighters from the CFA and MFB together under one umbrella.

Victoria's new controversial fire authority's first day in action has reignited a bitter and ongoing stoush over the state's fire services.

Fire Rescue Victoria's first day of operation on July 1 brings career firefighters from the CFA and MFB together under one umbrella.

The state government created the authority as a way of circuit-breaking the long-running disputes and making the CFA volunteer-only.

"We have two services that are functioning as they did before," Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said on Wednesday.

"No one's moved where they are, where they were yesterday, they're there today ... there's no risk at all."

Under the changes, 1400 career firefighters, including those at 38 CFA career and integrated stations, have transitioned into the FRV.

The new authority works around the clock covering metropolitan Melbourne and major regional centres, with 85 stations.

Veteran Canadian firefighter Ken Block is the FRV commissioner.

The Country Fire Authority welcomed its new partner to fight fires and deliver emergency services.

"It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey to reach today's implementation of fire services reform," CFA board Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook said.

"But we are looking to the future of our organisation - we are now a proudly volunteer-based, community-focused fire service."

There are more than 50,000 CFA volunteers at 1200-plus brigades.

Despite the goodwill of the CFA to work with FRV, Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said if elected at the 2022 state polls, he'd rebuild the CFA.

"The Andrews Labor government has sided with its union mates and driven the boot into hardworking Victorian CFA volunteers who have been forced out of the service," he said.

"By rebuilding and restoring the CFA, we will give thousands of Victorian volunteers the respect that their service has been denied."

Victorian Nationals deputy leader Steph Ryan said it was a devastating result for volunteers.

Australian Associated Press