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‘All hell could break loose’: Controversial fire services plan is back

Controversial legislation to abolish the MFB and career CFA services to make way for a new state-wide paid firefighting service will again be introduced to state parliament.

The bill was scuppered in the Upper House last year when two Liberal MPs used religious reasons to miss parliament on Good Friday, only to catch the government off-guard by breaking convention to return for the crucial vote.

The fire services bill is being reintroduced today.

Click PLAY to hear 3AW State Politics reporter James Talia give Neil Mitchell the details

“This is a brawl that has been raging for years now,” Neil Mitchell said.

“It’s changed history: It cost Jane Garrett her job, led to a raft of resignations, and became so toxic that it cost Bill Shorten seats in the (2016) election.”

“I know he believes that, if not for the CFA dispute, he would have been prime minister three years ago.

“And now it’s back. All hell could break loose.”

New Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville denies the bill will make country volunteers part of a second-rate service, insisting it will better prepare and support volunteers.

“When I have a look at how our system works … I think this is the way we need to go,” she told Neil Mitchell.

“I’m very confident that we will (get it through the upper house).

“We have a mandate … it was absolutely a critical issue in the election.”

Click PLAY for that interview