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Byron Shire
May 12, 2021

Firefighters ‘did not sign up to accept that people will die in bushfires’

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The Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (FBEU) has said today that NSW professional firefighters have not signed up for people to die in bushfires, and have called for at least 400 more firefighters in New South Wales.

They say this is the number needed to meet the everyday work FRNSW does (as this service has fewer firefighters now than in 2011) and does not deal with the resources needed to address the current and future bushfire crisis. Three more FRNSW trucks were lost in an overrun at the South Coast this new year, from an ageing fleet.

In response to Premier Berejiklian’s statement that communities needed to prepare for the possibility of more fatalities, State Secretary of FBEU Leighton Drury says communities and Fire Rescue New South Wales did not sign up for more fatalities.

‘We didn’t sign up to just accept people will die. Our communities didn’t sign up for that.’ he said.

‘It’s simple. We need the Premier to announce more firefighters. That’s what the people of New South Wales want and need. We signed up to serve. Let us do that, and give us more firefighters to do it with.’

‘We urgently need at least 400 more firefighters to fight blazes across the state and protect at-risk communities.’


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12 COMMENTS

    • Stating the bleeding obvious seems to be required these days,
      to direct our overpaid incompetent pollies to get off their ARRRGs. Unfortunately they have an allegiance to a higher-power, COAL,”nothing to be scared of” as Scumo so elegantly put it to Parliment, but I do believe the voters are something they are about to have a whole new respect for.
      Hopefully, G”)

  1. Well spoken obvious truth. It is unacceptable to be so unprepared, particularly the lack of basic equipment and heavy dependence on volunteers. The lack of appropriate response to worsening conditions, come what may attitude, with a hint of supercilious sadness, is negligence. Far too slow off the mark.
    Please make appropriate accommodations now. Thankyou.
    Trees are not the enemy. Trees change climate to that which is inhabitable for life on earth.

  2. Most politicians & city slickers don’t have a clue what’s involved fighting bushfires. They see it on tv as if it were some movie. It’s people’s lives – their day by day living and their livelihood that are irrevocably impacted – and animals, forests and farmlands too.
    Frankly I’m absolutely disgusted that politicians & national leaders try to smooth talk the situation. Yesterday’s news clip of Cobargo people having a go at the PM is just the tip of the iceberg re people’s views re lack of government action re fires, climate change & human responsibility for the catastrophe we all now face.
    It’s hard not to be depressed by it all.

    • I saw some of the TV footage of Cobargo where the failed advertising dude,’Scotty from Marketing’ hightailed it once the heat of public opinion was too much for him. A True Leader would be pro active in acting but instead we have a Coward who runs away to play ‘Captain Catchup’ somewhere else that is friendly towards him.

  3. Hear hear! It’s a no-brainer. That was appalling governance in the face of a growing population and climate change. This fire season has been truly horrific and we’re only halfway through!
    And simultaneously the NSW government needs to return staffing levels and budgets at National Parks back up the 2011 levels too !
    I predict in the post-fire inquiries, the NSW government to point the finger at NPWS, implementing their own policies. The 1994 fires resulted in acknowledgement of understaffing in parks and lead to a major staff increase that continued apace with new reserves. Now their firefighting capability is 70% of 2011 levels, yet they are expected to do more? Bushfires have become the main work activity for every parks worker I know. Conservation, maintenance and law enforcement doesn’t happen anymore – just look at the feral mayhem at Christmas Beach now!
    Parks and Forestry have traditionally been the professional bushfire fighters, able to continue the work long after the volunteers had to return to normal life…. now Gladys has gone and quietly privatised half of Forestry on Dec 28, again lessening land and fire management capabilities on public land.

  4. Agree Stephanie Bennett. Our firefighters must be supported properly with up-to-date equipment and appropriate personnel numbers. This request must take priority over ‘bread and circuses’ sports stadia and other idiot proposals the current government is prone to.
    And while I’m at it the Premier and her government need to take a closer look at numpty planning laws and ridiculous support for proposals which promote developments which put people at risk of bushfire attack and disaster. The controversial Iron Gates proposal at Evans Head is a case in point, a satellite residential development smack-bang in the middle of the bush. The Premier needs to step in now and bring the proposal to a halt. The land should never have been zoned residential in the first place back in 1983.

  5. This is so obviously a public health & safety issue & a public interest matter as these infernos were foreseeable since April 2019 and have been burning since at least August 2019 and cannot be put out without extra resources.
    Surely the cost of 400 more firefighters can be justified to cease this catastrophe against the current and future psychosocial costs and community infrastructure costs if more of NSW is allowed to burn out of control as it has now over the past six months. So unacceptable.
    Fully support the unions trying to help their exhausted workforce and the public interest as obliged .

  6. Volunteer fire fighters also didn’t sign up for deaths nor that some volunteers are more important than others. I think parity for all volunteers is needed before we start talking about 400 more fire fighters…

  7. Well said SILVERSISTER ABOVE… just spoke to my dear X husband outside Bega and his 320 acres was burned to the ground.He would have died had he not build his house into the hillside. He lost everything outside….he cares for wildlife and is MOST devastated by the fact there are no more wallabies. He loved them and they trusted him, he fed the Ol ones that can’t chew anymore. Bless him but he is so outraged and livered at our arrogant /incompetent PM for not listening to the scientists who have been predicting this for some 40yrs. He had no warning , even the ABC gave incorrect info as they got incorrect info from the RFS ….Go figure ??? No one came to help him or others in an isolated area. Phone lines are all down & mobile reception crap what a nightmare. The RFS union is calling for 400 more fire fighters but this should have been organised years ago. You can’t train them in a week and they have said we didn’t sign up to accept escalating deaths. Our pathetic Govt needs a class action against them & I’m putting my hand up. Welcome to the Apocalypse

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