July 9, 2018

Inside this issue:

  • Keelty’s Tathra review – update #1
  • FBEU comment on the Keelty Tathra Review’s 12 recommendations, and the Government’s response to those recommendations

Keelty’s Tathra review – update #1

SitRep 21 concluded by questioning the independence of the Tathra Review, suggesting the Government already knew the Review’s findings and recommendations before it commenced. This quote below from the Minister back on 21 March, when the Review was first announced, confirms that it was already a foregone conclusion:

Mick Keelty will be focused on what is the model, Tathra, also looking at other examples across the State – what is the best model to make sure fire appliances are deployed, no matter what badging is on the side of them, whether they have the capability to go to any fire without boundaries being an issue, so having a consolidated effort, a call centre if you like, each agency has their own individual ones, as do ambulances, as do police, as do the SES which work with triple-0 and their own reporting lines. This is the way we will take away any ambiguity, take away any questions that come up and take away the opportunity for union opportunists who are preying on the suffering and misery of victims at the most inappropriate time.”

That last sentence also confirms the Minister’s real motives here: payback, and denying “union opportunists” the ability to ever get access to similar facts again in future. It certainly has nothing to do with improving call taking and dispatch services.

The Minister’s crocodile tears about “the most inappropriate time” is the same angle run by the gun lobby and NRA whenever someone in the US dares to question America’s gun laws after another mass shooting. We reject this. If there is a problem then let it be seen, otherwise it will simply happen again. At no stage, then or since, has the Union criticised the effort of the firefighters on the ground that day, but it is ridiculous to argue that additional resources would have made no difference at Tathra. The Union has not preyed on anyone except the Minister and the dysfunctional turf war between the services for which he is ultimately responsible.

A joint statement from the two Commissioners on Saturday advised (in part) that The 12 recommendations will be referred to the Emergency Services Board of Commissioners to progress and implement”. This is not how to conduct industrial relations. Had they said “The 12 recommendations will be referred to the Fire Services Joint Standing Committee to review and discuss,” then all sides could have proceeded in a calmer and far less adversarial manner. The Union will now seek the assistance of the Industrial Relations Commission to oversee negotiations that should have been initiated by the Minister and Commissioner

The Review’s 12 recommendations, the Government’s response to each recommendation and the Union’s comments and position on each point is attached to this SitRep below, confirming our support (in whole or part) for some of those recommendations and our rejection of others, in all cases with reasons given.

Leighton Drury
State Secretary

For a print version of this SitRep click here.