THE Country Fire Authority has begun pushing for a large boost in resources, including an extra 680 professional firefighters - more than twice the number now.
CFA representatives have begun talks with the Department of Justice about a huge increase in funding for the organisation that relies largely on 58,000 volunteers.
CFA spokesman Robert Hogan said no formal submission had been lodged with the Government yet, but the CFA had spoken with the department in recent weeks about increasing the number of career firefighters and volunteers. "We've got to look at the whole state, look at it in the context of whether we require more capacity in our service," Mr Hogan said.
The CFA and the department needed to determine the real cost of expanding the service, and the priorities for funding before the CFA made a formal funding submission, he said.
"You need resources, you need facilities either new or expanded, there's training, there's a whole range of things and those things don't happen overnight," he said.
There has been a rise in CFA volunteers since the fires in February, particularly in areas such as Knox where 50 people had joined, he said.
The CFA now has about 500 paid firefighters. National secretary of the United Firefighters, Peter Marshall, said an extra 684 professional CFA members were needed urgently, and should be put through an intense shorter training program.
State Government spokeswoman Meaghan Shaw said: "The Government is committed to ensuring the CFA has all the support for the upcoming fire seasons … this year's budget committed a record $215.5 million to our emergency services."
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