Firefighters, paramedics confront Premier

Angry firefighters and emergency services staff greeted Denis Napthine when he arrived and departed M.A.D.E on Thursday. 

 Premier Denis Napthine is confronted by angry emergency services workers. PICTURES: JEREMY BANNISTER

Premier Denis Napthine is confronted by angry emergency services workers. PICTURES: JEREMY BANNISTER

The group was protesting a range of issues including delays in hiring extra firefighters, a cut in the CFA’s budget two years ago and an understaffed Ballarat City Fire Station. 

United Firefighters Union spokesperson Brenton Smith said about 20 firefighters and paramedics gathered hoping to speak to Dr Napthine. 

“We are upset with the way emergency services are being treated at the moment,” Mr Smith said. 

“He didn’t even have the decency to answer our questions.”

Dr Napthine did stop to speak to the group, however, Mr Smith said he didn’t respond to any of the specific questions that were asked. Mr Smith said morale was as low as it had been in a long time among firefighters.

“We are just disappointed.It clearly shows someone who doesn’t care and is unsympathetic,” he said. 

Firefighters and paramedics are expected to stage similar greetings for Dr Napthine any time he visits the city.

Labor Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews is expected to visit local firefighters on Friday to discuss some of the issues. 

“It will be good (for someone) to hear what we have to say rather than just walk past,” he said. 

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