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New CFA boss Dr Paul Smith says he won’t ‘give commentary’ on EBA deal

The new chief executive of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) says he won’t be drawn on the bitter industrial relations dispute that has plagued the fire services.

In his first interview since taking on the top job, Dr Paul Smith said he couldn’t comment on the controversial details of the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) being pushed by the union as it was before parliament.

Neil Mitchell questioned if the EBA agreement had been signed off.

Dr Smith, the third CEO at the organisation in two years, said it was a matter for the “industrial relations” space.

Neil Mitchell: Are there are any clauses in there that give the union power of veto as claimed?

Dr Smith: I don’t want to come on and give commentary about the EBA.

Neil Mitchell: But that’s the essence of the whole problem, we’ve had a minister quit over it.

Dr Smith: That’s all in the history.

Neil Mitchell: But if the deal’s not done it’s not in the history.

Meanwhile, a Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights report into bullying, sexism and harassment is yet to be released despite a failed bid by the United Firefighters Union to block its release in December last year.

Dr Smith said he was yet to see the report but the CFA had already taken steps to improve the culture in the organisation.

“There’s a cultural issue in CFA I don’t think there’s any secret of that,” he said.

Click PLAY to hear the full interview on 3AW Mornings