The NSW government has been accused of playing “Russian roulette” with community safety after the first night of fire station shutdowns in Sydney.
In a bid to rein in costs, up to eight stations in Sydney will be temporarily shut down each night so firefighters can fill shortages elsewhere.
The temporary closures, which began on Monday night, included Miranda and Macquarie Fields fire stations, Fairfax Radio reported.
Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) said the closures showed the government was “playing Russian Roulette with community safety”.
“This decision to begin temporary fire station closures is simply unconscionable,” FBEU Secretary Jim Casey said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The union intends to do everything possible to resist this attack on community safety.”
Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Greg Mullins said the firefighters union had rejected other proposals to reduce costs.
“With just one third of the financial year gone, nearly 70 per cent of the $10 million 2012/13 overtime budget has already been spent,” he said in a statement.
“So I have decided to take steps to reduce the blow-out in overtime by extending our long standing practice of moving fire fighting resources between fire stations in a responsible way.”