The proceeding Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria Inc v Country Fire Authority (S CI 2016 02269) was today resolved in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
On 19 October, 2016, the matter was referred by the trial judge, Justice McDonald, for mediation by Associate Justice Efthim. The proceeding was resolved at the mediation, with the parties filing consent orders:
1. The defendant is released from the undertakings given to the Court in this proceeding.
2. The proceeding is discontinued with no order as to costs, save for the costs ordered by Justice McDonald on 15 September 2016 to be taxed in default of agreement.
Justice McDonald said in Court:
'The court commends the parties for their resolution, in the short-term, of the issues which were going to be the subject of what was potentially a lengthy and complex piece of litigation which was to commence next week. I do know that since the parties were last before the court there has been extensive mediation in this matter and it is important to acknowledge and place on the record the very significant contribution which has been made by Associate Justice Efthim in mediating this dispute and facilitating the information which has been reached today.'
'The court also wishes to acknowledge the significant contribution which has been made with great efficiency by Associate Justice Ierodiaconou in resolving a raft of disputes relating to the production of documents.'
The proceeding was commenced by writ filed by the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria Inc on 10 June 2016. On that date, Justice McDonald granted an injunction restraining the defendant (the Country Fire Authority) from putting the proposed enterprise agreement to its employees for a vote before 22 June 2016. On 17 August 2016, the defendant undertook that it would not request any of its employees who would be covered by the proposed agreement to approve the agreement by vote before the hearing and determination of the proceeding.
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