PREMIER Daniel Andrews had a group waiting for him when he arrived in Ararat on Wednesday morning – but it wasn’t a welcoming party.
Wimmera Country Fire Authority volunteers took the opportunity to protest against a new enterprise bargaining agreement.
The drawn-out deal has divided some volunteers and led to the resignation of embattled Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett.
Mr Andrews was heading to the city to celebrate the arrival of the first turbine blade for Ararat Wind Farm.
Member for Ripon Louise Staley was at the protest to show her support.
She said she stood by the volunteers.
“This is the backbone of our communities,’’ she said. “The CFA keeps us safe, they volunteer at huge cost to themselves, and all we want is to have respect for volunteers, so I'm here to support the volunteers.’’
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said everyone there was passionate about the issue.
She said Mr Andrews would not listen.
“Everyone is saying that the CFA EBA that Daniel Andrews wants to sign off on is both unworkable and is going to harm volunteerism in the Country Fire Authority,’’ she said.
“It needs to be more than just Daniel Andrews and Peter Marshall who are supporting this deal.’’