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FIRE Brigade staffing issues sink Sydney Harbour ‘fast attack’ fire boat

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Hosed down … the Fire and Rescue NSW boat which has been on trial in Sydney Harbour / Pic: Jeff Herbert Source: The Daily Telegraph

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw-act/brigade-staffing-issues-sink-sy…

MEDIA ADVISORY
Thursday March 3, 2011

Brigade putting homes and lives at risk

Homes and lives are at risk across the inner west because the New South Wales Fire Brigade refuses to properly staff a fireboat on Sydney Harbour.

Instead of stationing officers at the dock to respond to emergencies, the Fire Brigade is insisting firefighters leave the Rozelle and Balmain fire station unattended to crew the fireboat.

“This is highly irresponsible and poses an unacceptable risk to life and property,” NSW FBEU State Secretary Jim Casey said.

“We’re simply not prepared to leave tens of thousands of homes, schools and businesses unprotected.

“If fire brigade management had its way, an entire station would be left unstaffed every time there was a call out on the water.

“Accordingly we won’t be allowing the boat to be crewed on the cheap. The FR NSW boat needs dedicated crew to do its job properly. The current situation leaves the community exposed.”

The union’s decision follows protracted negotiations with management.

While the union has negotiated in good faith, management’s refusal to consider community safety has given firefighters no other option.

“This is not an action we take lightly, but given the circumstances we see no other option,” NSW FBEU State Secretary Jim Casey said.

“The NSW Fire Brigade is not a profit and loss statement, it is a brigade of hard working men and women who put their lives and wellbeing on the line to protect the community from the threat of fire.

“Imagine if every time the water police went out on the harbour a police station closed to staff it. This is the same situation, and it’s unacceptable. It means we cannot do our job properly.”

“We won’t allow beancounters to put lives and property at risk.”

Media enquiries please call FBEU NSW State Secretary Jim Casey on 0419 267 555 or FBEU President Darin Sullivan on 0422 436 044

About Darin Sullivan (1967 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. Father of two daughters, he lives and works on the NSW South Coast, Australia. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. He is a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and works with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist he has long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. Now a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and has decades of experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. He is passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. Darin is also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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