Firefighters Slam Tink’s “Get Tough” Proposal

January 7, 1998

The Fire Brigade Employees Union today slammed the State Opposition proposal to stiffen penalties for people who attack firefighters as a cheap political stunt which will be bitterly opposed by NSW Firefighters. The FBEU does not support any increase in existing provisions, and is critical of Opposition police spokesman Andrew Tink’s calls for action where none is wanted, nor considered necessary by firefighters.

FBEU State Secretary Mr Chris Read today said, “Firefighters deserve and expect the same assistance from police as other workers – no more and no less. We don’t need Mr Tink’s ‘special’ treatment, which would likely achieve nothing other than to make us greater targets in the eyes of the handful of idiots we’re talking about here,”.

“Mr Tink got it wrong on this issue in ’96 and ’97, yet it seems he’s back for another go in ’98. How many times do firefighters have to say no? The real crime here is for the Opposition to irresponsibly throw fuel on what are, at present, extremely isolated incidents,” said Mr. Read. “Civil unrest is a police issue. Like any other workers, if we come under attack we’ll leave the scene and the police can handle it as they would for anyone else,” said Mr Read.


The FBEU and NSW Fire Brigades share agreement on the need for firefighters to operate “neutrally”, independent of and unconnected to the NSW Police Service. The Union maintains that the existing Crimes Act offers sufficient protection for workers – including firefighters – who may be the victims of assault during work, and will approach the Government for its support in again opposing the proposed Tink/Opposition Crimes Amendment Emergency Workers Bill.