Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (FBEU)
1 – 7 Belmore Street Surry Hills NSW 2010
Thursday, 2 August 2012
The Fire Brigade Employees’ Union has expressed qualified satisfaction that their serious concerns regarding public safety have been heard by Emergency Services Minister Chris Gallacher who has agreed to take those views to cabinet next week.
The FBEU met with Mr Gallacher today ahead of an Industrial Relations Commission hearing. The FBEU had taken the State Government to the IRC arguing that the government’s proposed funding cut would compromise safety, because, during any given shift, it would force up to eight short-staffed fire stations to go offline.
The IRC has now postponed its decision for a week, to allow Mr Gallacher time to present the FBEU’s concerns to cabinet.
FBEU Secretary Jim Casey said he appreciated the Minister’s undertaking to re-consult Cabinet, because the funding cut, as proposed, would be disastrous.
“Mr Gallacher has done the right thing by committing to take our very serious safety concerns to cabinet, and on behalf of firefighters across Sydney, I thank him for this decision,” Mr Casey said.
“NSW firefighters do this dangerous, demanding job because we want to keep people and property safe. That’s why we are absolutely appalled that the government would significantly reduce public safety in the name of a relatively small budget cut.
“If the government goes through with this plan they will be playing dice with public safety. When you shut down up to eight stations per shift across Sydney, on most occasions you will get away with it without major damage or people getting hurt. But on some occasions you won’t be so lucky.
“That’s what we mean when we say this decision is like Russian roulette. You cannot shut down eight fire stations across Sydney at any given time and expect to maintain the same level of safety. Anyone who tells you otherwise is stretching the boundaries of logic.
“Any firefighter can tell you of occasions that lives or property have been saved due to the proximity of the fire station. If that fire station happens to be closed at the crucial moment, as it may be under the government’s plan, then it could well spell tragedy.”
Jim Casey (FBEU) 0419 267 555 / Darin Sullivan (FBEU) 0422 436 044
Anil Lambert (media) 0416 426 722Distributed by: