Have you seen the Govt budget hoax being played on NSW firefighters?


Overtime blow out a sham

The idiotic KPI pressure gauges on the Department’s intranet site are a good metaphor for the silliness afflicting FRNSW generally these days. The annual overtime budget for 2012/13 is facing huge overruns not because of increased staff absences (the opposite applies) or even increased operations, but because it was set so pathetically low at $10M that it was never going to be met. Compare it with previous years:

Financial Year

Perm & Retd total spend

Overtime spend

Overtime as % of total


$167.9 M

$17.7 M

10.5 %


$173.6 M

$18.1 M

10.4 %


$181.9 M

$19.5 M

10.7 %


$196.3 M

$20.9 M

11.0 %


$209.3 M

$20.1 M

10.0 %


$222.6 M

$20.1 M

9.0 %


$240.3 M

$21.8 M

9.1 %


$258.6 M

$19.0 M

7.3 %


$271.6 M

$21.3 M

7.8 %


$290.5 M

$19.8 M

6.8 %


$307.5 M

$17.1 M

5.5 %


$316.3 M

$24.0 M

7.5 %


$323.2 M

$25.0 M

7.7 %


$324.6 M (estimate)

$10.0 M (budgeted)

3.1 %

Since 2000, the annual spend on firefighter overtime has averaged 8.7% of total firefighter wages, so both the 5 and 10 year trends were falling, not climbing. The inevitable and self-imposed “overtime blow out” in 2012/13 is simply a contrived prop with which the Minister and the Department are now using to beat and blame firefighters in order to justify their irresponsible budget cuts.

SITREP 3/2013 | FBEU.

About Darin Sullivan (1968 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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