NSW fire stations close to save cost
Updated: 12:43, Tuesday November 6, 2012
Some Sydney fire stations will temporarily shut down for a day so firefighters can fill shortages elsewhere, under a cost cutting plan.
Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins says the plan will kick in immediately after the firefighters union rejected other proposals to reduce costs caused by high levels of sick leave and absenteeism.
‘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,’ Mr Mullins 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.’
The policy will see up to eight Sydney fire stations temporarily shut down for a day so that firefighters can fill shortages elsewhere.
Mr Mullins said these arrangements would only be in place when minimum safe crewing levels were not being met because of firefighters taking sick or other unplanned leave.
‘The few fire stations moved to cover staffing shortfalls elsewhere in metropolitan areas, will be covered by crews from other nearby stations.
The plan had originally been scheduled to take effect in August before it was suspended to allow discussion of alternative cost-saving measures.
‘The implementation of these arrangements follows the Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) rejection of alternative measures for reining in overtime costs,’ Mr Mullins said.
FBEU state secretary Jim Casey has previously warned that closing fire stations would compromise public safety.
‘Houses will burn and lives will be lost,’ he said.