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Victoria’s Human Rights Commissioner says blocking of fire services report ‘extremely disappointing’

Victoria’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner says she is “extremely disappointed” that a controversial report addressing claims of bullying and harassment in Victoria’s fire services will not be made public.

The report was carried out by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission at the request of former Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett.

After a lengthy legal bid by the United Firefighters Union, the Court of Appeal delivered a majority ruling to block the release of the report.

VEOHRC commissioner Kristen Hilton told Tom Elliott the court ruling was very technical.

She said she believed the suppression of the report including providing the final copy to the government.

“The most disappointing thing is that so many people across both agencies, of all rank, volunteers or paid staff, participated in the review,” she said.

“For many of them it was the first time they got to tell their experiences of working in fire services in a safe and confidential way.

“We had thousands of participants and it’s extremely disappointing for us, but mainly for them that those experiences won’t be heard at this point and they won’t shape the change.”

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