SITREP No. 7/2009

August 14, 2009


Inside this issues:

  • Is Top Cop Scipione now our boss?
  • Carpooling – its your choice
  • Memories of Kel Overton
  • AFA Charges doubled

Is Top Cop Scipione now our boss?

As members would be aware, the Rees Government’s controversial new “super-agencies” include a new department of Police and Emergency Services covering Police, Fire Brigades, the RFS and SES. It is headed by Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione. What does this mean for firefighters?

In meetings with both Commissioner Mullins and Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan, the Union was assured that the Department will retain operational autonomy and that “front line services” would not be affected. We shall see. A recent media beat-up about “special and unique” RFS volunteers (including a cameo from P. Koperberg MP) led nowhere and there will be no exceptions or exemptions for the RFS.

Leaving aside the question of whether operational autonomy equals industrial autonomy (that is, do we negotiate our wages and conditions with the NSWFB, or the Police Commissioner?), what seems clear is that for now at least, the proposed super-agency remains more of a concept than a reality. And with Rees’ future as Premier increasingly uncertain, it’s possible that the entire plan may yet sink quietly under its own weight. The Union will continue to monitor the situation, and inform members of developments.

Carpooling – it’s your choice

When travelling to and from temporary work locations (in this case for training), local management has been directing retained members to travel together or to seek special approval to travel on their own. If you choose to carpool then well and good, but you cannot be directed to travel with another member nor can you be directed to take another member with you in your vehicle. It is the Department’s responsibility to provide transport in accordance with the Award and this cannot be delegated.

Memories of Kel Overton

Following the recent death of Comrade Kel Overton his family is putting together an album of memories relating to Kel’s life. If you have any photos, stories or thoughts relating to Kel you can submit them to the Union office and we’ll forward them on. Originals will be returned, so please include your address details.

AFA charges doubled

In February this year the NSW Government slipped through an amendment to ramp up the False Alarm Charge from $250 to $500. The old charges disproportionately affected poor and working class people. The new charge, which took effect on 1 July, simply doubles the pain.

The NSWFB does not see one cent of these AFA fines. They all go straight to Treasury. So why are we hitting the elderly, sick and poor to underwrite the Rees’ Government? The State Committee will be reviewing this question at its next meeting – more to follow.

Jim Casey
State Secretary



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