SAFETY should not be compromised for the sake of savings said Ryde Liberal councillor Roy Maggio, who has broken Liberal ranks to stand against the state government’s cuts to the fire fighting budget.
“This is not political, you have just got to open your eyes and look at what they do,” he said.
“I stand tall as a Liberal councillor but at the end of the day I’m supporting my community and the services that seem to be being discouraged,” he said.
At last night’s council meeting, Cr Maggio asked the council to write to the state government in light of the $1.485 million in funds that Ryde and other local governments each provide.
He emphasised the local community’s concerns over the $25 million in cuts over four years which has seen local stations closed temporarily to fill holes elsewhere.
“You can’t compromise the safety of our community … there needs to be more discussion, more dialogue, more compromise.,” said Cr Maggio.
“Considering the council is paying $1.485 million, the fire stations in our LGA should be equipped to look after the community to the fullest extent,” he said,
Fire Brigade Employees Union representative Jim Casey applauded the move.
“Fire protection is something the community expects, sadly, the State Government doesn’t seem prepared to compromise … now it’s going to be up to local government to take a stand and let them know our safety is not negotiable.
“What is concerning to us is that tThese budget cuts are escalating over four years – it starts with $7 million and ends with $25 million recurrent, we’re seeing serious station closures by year one. … I have no idea how they are going to make the cuts by year four.
“The only way we can see it is to shed jobs … which is the equivalent of 300 firefighters. No one voted for their fire station to be shut, no one voted for community safety to be compromised – the government needs to reassess this policy.”