THE Country Fire Authority has been accused of trying to gag members approached by media about the Black Saturday fires.
State Liberal MP Christine Fyffe said yesterday that she had been given a copy of a memo from CFA chief officer Russell Rees that sought to stop CFA volunteers commenting on operational matters.
Ms Fyffe said the CFA member who has passed the memo to her was concerned that it signalled the CFA was covering up problems and that it would not learn from its mistakes.
The memo, which was circulated last month, was a response to media reports quoting CFA members discussing Black Saturday operations.
"I am concerned that in this highly sensitive and emotionally charged environment that some of these comments will be read as divisive and as such will lead to personal hurt and embarrassment," Mr Rees said in the memo.
The memo urges managers to "assist and encourage" members to discuss problems internally and direct media requests "on any matters relating to local and state operations or any other contentious matters during the fire season" to the public affairs department.
Ms Fyffe said yesterday volunteers wanted to speak out to stop Black Saturday being repeated.
But CFA CEO Neil Bibby said members had not been gagged. He said the memo had been issued as brigades were having internal problems because of comments made in the media, but CFA members had continued to speak freely to the press. He said the point of the memo was to encourage members to think before they spoke.
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