In response to the decision Commissioner Hilton said, “The key message for today is that this work is important and is directly within the Commission’s powers. We will publish the full report in January 2018.”
In June 2017 the United Firefighters Union applied to the Supreme Court to prevent publication of the report of the Commission’s review into discrimination, harassment and victimisation in CFA and MFB. The Review was commissioned by the Victorian Government in response to multiple reports of damaging workplace cultures in both agencies.
The Court today ruled that the Commission was acting within its statutory powers in conducting the review. It also found that the methodology used was reasonable and appropriate, and acknowledged the evidence that the Commission had followed best practice.
“Today’s decision means that the stories, experiences and insights from men and women across the CFA and MFB will be heard, and will help set the agencies on a meaningful path of cultural reform.
“This has not been an easy process for those CFA and MFB current and former members who have participated in this process with courage and in good faith,” said Commissioner Hilton.
The Supreme Court also found that the Commission has broad, investigatory powers in conducting reviews into workplace discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation and that it had exercised those powers correctly.
“Systemic reviews of this nature are a critical part of our work. We take our obligations to promote equality and respect in workplaces seriously. All Victorians have the right to go to work and be free from discrimination and sexual harassment,” Commissioner Hilton said.
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