SITREP 11/2013

March 16, 2013

easter eggInside this issue:

  • How much does a false alarm cost? More than you might think!
  • Easter Sunday consolidated leave

Single Pump response to AFA’s – update

The Department’s push for single pump responses to AFAs (see SITREP 42/2012) gathered pace last Sunday with a ridiculous Herald article titled “$50m up in flames because of false alarms”.

According to the Sun Herald, “false fire alarms are costing NSW taxpayers millions of dollars a year because business owners are only fined a third of frontline costs to the fire department…the fines of $750 for … a false alarm are nowhere near covering the full cost of an emergency call out, which is estimated to be about $3083.”

Interestingly enough, the Minister for Emergency Services, Mike Gallacher, seems to disagree. In July 2011 he said “The proposed increase from $500 to $750 [of the AFA fine – ed] does not even come close to full recovery of the cost of a false alarm which is closer to $1800.”

So is it $3083 for each false alarm or $1800? And more importantly, why are we hearing about this now? The answer is that it suits both the Department, and their bosses in government, to manufacture an “AFA Crisis”.

For the Department it helps justify single pump response to AFAs, which in turn will allow them to TOL more extensively, save more on wages, and would assist in introducing Medical First Responder.

For the government exaggerating the economic cost of responding to AFAs provides a cover for their gouging of the public through AFA fines, that they ramped up by a whopping 50% (see SITREP 27/2011).

What is missing in the deliberations of both management, and the O’Farrell Government, is the safety of both firefighters on the fireground, and the community we protect.

Easter Sunday consolidated leave

The Union’s victory in the long-running Easter Sunday public holiday dispute last year in the face of the Department’s vehement opposition – see SITREP 25/2012 – means that Easter Sunday is treated as an additional public holiday for the purposes of sub-clause 6.4 of the Permanent Award. Any permanent member who actually works on Easter Sunday is to be credited the same number of hours of consolidated leave as those hours actually worked by them on that day.

Members who work overtime on Easter Sunday are also entitled to be credited the same number of hours of cons leave as those hours actually worked by them on that day. This is in addition to the penalty rates paid for the overtime worked.

Members who were rostered to work on Easter Sunday but did not actually work on the day due to any form of leave or a part-change of shift are not entitled to the additional consolidated leave and further, that members who perform a part-change of shift then on the additional public holiday get the consolidated leave, not the member who was originally rostered to work that day.

Jim Casey
State Secretary
Saturday 16 March 2013



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