Out-duties and relievers not to leave station
if station is on or below minimum staffing
Commissioner Mullins has tonight confirmed the Department’s intention to commence temporarily closing permanent stations (ie, Taking them Off Line, or TOLing). This is directly contrary to undertakings to provide advance notice that were repeatedly given by the Department to the IRC’s Justice Backman, and by Commissioner Mullins to me personally.
Members are instructed that:
No out-duty or relieving duty is to be performed if it will result in an appliance (including specialist appliances) falling below safe and effective minimum staffing.
No out-duty or relieving duty is to be performed if the station in question is already on or below safe and effective minimum staffing levels for all appliances attached to that station.
This instruction shall remain in force until advised otherwise by way of further Union notice.
Further to the above, members are also reminded that:
No appliance is to respond or remain on-line without safe and effective minimum staffing.
No firefighter can be directed to use their own vehicle, and the Department must provide return transport for any permanent firefighter who is directed to perform an outduty or stand-by duty without prior notice (see Permanent Award subclause 12.12). To avoid doubt:
(a) the term “prior notice” means prior to the conclusion of your last rostered shift; and
(b) nothing in this advice should be taken to mean that a member must either request that the Department provide transport, or that they may not choose to use their own vehicle.
Station Officers cannot be directed (or choose) to perform outduties or stand-by duties without breaching the Award.
An officer (Inspector or above) who orders another officer (Station Officer or above) to perform an out-duty or stand-by duty is (a) issuing an unlawful order and (b) exposed to disciplinary charges for breach of Regulation 17(c) – “A firefighter must not abuse the firefighter’s authority by acting oppressively towards a subordinate”.
Former President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (2009-2018) and a professional firefighter with more than 30 years experience. I live and work on the NSW South Coast, Australia. I am a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around me. I am a former Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and work with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist I have long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. I am a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and have 30 years experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. I am 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. I am also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.