Newly appointed Victorian shadow minister for emergency services Tim Smith has taken up the fight to boost fire-fighting capabilities in Beechworth.
Less than a week into the role following the failed attempt to topple Michael O'Brien as the Victorian Liberal leader, Mr Smith said the town's resources were totally inadequate with two ultra-light tankers a baseline requirement.
One is on the way from Cudgewa, but another is sorely needed, he said.
The Beechworth brigade has been making do with a volunteer's old Land Cruiser ute with a slip-on to do the work an ultra-light tanker would.
"They need two here and I'm calling on the Andrews government to give these guys what they need," Mr Smith said.
Brigade captain Bruce Forrest said the ultra-light tanker coming from the Upper Murray was more than 10-years-old.
"I've just driven the Land Cruiser around the gorge and I've nearly put my shoulders out," he said.
"There is no power steering and it's just a beast of thing."
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Mr Smith said it was crucial rural brigades such as Beechworth were adequately prepared for future extreme bushfire seasons following a reprieve this summer.
"We have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the CFA for the last seven years as a war has been waged upon them by the (United Firefighters Union) and the Andrews Labor government," he said.
"The new model, which has seen the CFA split, cast aside from (Fire Rescue Victoria), hasn't been stress tested.
"This has been a wet summer so we haven't seen how this new model is going to work in the height of summer when a surge capacity is absolutely necessary."
Acting Police and Emergency Services Minister Danny Pearson rejected Mr Smith's claims.
"Beechworth CFA has been successful in securing $120,833 from our latest Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program grants, to enable them to purchase an ultra-light tanker, which will help to ensure they have the versatility to manage different kinds of roads," he said.
"We value the tireless work of CFA who protect lives and properties across the state and the Beechworth community can be reassured they are well protected."
The Beechworth brigade has a 2004 light tanker and 2006 forward command vehicle and access to slip-ons.
Even though he was a city-based MP, Mr Smith said he had travelled to the Upper Murray in the aftermath of last summer's fires to witness the widespread damage.
"It was quite extraordinary how close it got to Corryong," he said.
Member for Benambra Bill Tilley, who is a CFA volunteer and worked on the Upper Murray fires, said his electorate was being short-changed.
"There are roughly 63 fire brigades around the Benambra district and it's working with the brigades to see where those high priority areas are," he said.
"It's welcome news Beechworth is getting one ultra-light, but we know they need two."
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