Sharon Cadwallader, East Ballina
Regarding the Labor party bandwagon rolling out an extra 20 permanent firefighting positions at the Ballina fire station, this comes at an unaffordable cost to the Ballina ratepayers.
This initiative is a poorly disguised response of local labor luminaries (Asren Pugh et al) to pander to the demands of the Fire Brigade Employees Union.
At present the ratepayers pay 11.7 per cent of the running cost for the service which equates to $35,000 a year. The cost of the 20 x 24hr permanent fire fighters would be $3.5m; that’s an additional $360,000pa to be covered by Ballina Council who will pass this on to rate payers.
The facts: In 2007/8, 421 incidents occurred. For the similar period in 2016/17, incidents diminished to 276 – a reduction of over 30 per cent. This equates to less than one call out per day.
Ballina fire-fighting response times are 20 per cent below the guaranteed out-the-door response times of ten minutes.
Since the opening of the Ballina bypass there has been a dramatic reduction in serious highway incidents.
With the further development of the Ballina airport, specific firefighting resources and premises have been established there so that aviation incidents are no longer the remit of the Ballina Fire Station. Thirty per cent of the reduced annual call outs are false, and a further 60 per cent are for minor motor vehicle accidents and small vegetation fires.