The Government’s decision to disband the Ambulance Rescue Service and hand these rescue units over to the NSWFB has now been standing for over two weeks. In that time a number of very serious allegations have been publicly leveled against firefighters. These have included claims that FBEU members have refused to respond to calls, mismanaged rescues and simply don’t have the skills required to carryout the job. This is clearly a smear campaign with no basis in fact and ultimately not in the interests of ambulance officers, firefighters or the general public.
The FBEU supports the Government in having firefighters carrying out rescues across NSW and has done so for over thirty years. However the Union has very deliberately avoided making public comment on this decision out of concern that should the decision be viewed as a dispute between two Trade Unions the Government may move to reverse its decision.
On this basis the Union has now met with the Department raised a series of concerns with some of the proposals put forward and reached agreement on a series of interim measures.
Accordingly the following instruction stands until members are notified of other arrangements by the FBEU:
No member is to support, assist or deliver training designed to see the introduction of a dedicated recruit class of Ambulance Service of NSW personnel;
No member other than those currently rescue accredited and attached to either a dedicated rescue station or qualified to deliver rescue training is to be used to make up the minimum crewing levels required on a rescue unit;
No retained member is to be used to make up the minimum crewing levels required on a permanently staff rescue unit.
Members are to claim all existing allowances and entitlements in relation to movement to make up minimum crewing levels required for rescue units.
The FBEU and the Department are now working to ensure that the transition of rescue responsibility from the Ambulance Service of NSW to the NSWFB is achieved with the minimum disruption to members and the community at large. On this basis a working group has been established to oversee the transition and ultimately report on the best outcome for all concerned.