AT this time of year we barely think of the Country Fire Authority.
It’s minus one celsius in the morning, and it’s the time for bonfires.
But give it a few months and the CFA will be back in our minds.
This vast army, staffed with many volunteers, works to keep us all safe when the unthinkable happens.
Their year-round task is busy enough, but when the so-called fire season is upon us they are pushed to the limit on the bad years.
Days at the firefront, days away from families and the sheer discomfort and danger of fighting fires.
Every member deserves the accolades they receive, but perhaps we could do more for them.
Recent disputes have show many volunteers want to remain just that, untied by wages and restrictions, and with their own officers, and perhaps they have that right, but where the line must be drawn is on equipment.
Slightly off our patch, but not too far down the road is the Langley-Barfold CFA shed.
As its name suggests it’s that little patch of Victoria a few kilometres north of Kyneton on the Redesdale-Kyneton Road.
If you ever headed that way you will have seen their shed by the road.
Earlier this year the unthinkable happened.
The shed was broken into and some tools were stolen.
Then, to add further insult to injury to the shed was broken into again, the ute was stolen and torched at Lake Eppalock.
This is is bad enough, but now the members of the Langley-Barfold CFA are having to raise money to replace the unit.
There is lots of funding to be had from the state government, but the fact they feel the need to fundraise is not really acceptable.
This one instance highlights a ridiculous situation in the funding and supplying of the CFA.
Rather than equipment being supplied as a matter of course, individual members have to put their own time and effort into form filling and fundraising.
The Langley-Barfold CFA did have the ute insured, but fear the payout will not cover the cost of replacing it, and the pumping equipment installed.
It seems state government spending is a little adrift when life-saving volunteers – and the State Emergency Service fits under the same umbrella – is left to staff and fund itself in some instances.
We so often hear of money spent on infrastructure by the state government, and good on them, but it’s mostly there because of taxes paid by the people of Victoria.
Surely those people of Victoria would be happier some of the money went to funding our emergency volunteers and their equipment, rather than government masterplans and consultancies.
It’s potentially lifesaving, and shows more respect for those who lay their life on the line for us.