SITREP 17/2013

April 26, 2013

sprinklerInside this issue:

  • Retained award negotiations update
  • Sprinklers in all homes?
  • May Day reminder – Sunday 5 May

Retained award negotiations update

The Union’s application for a new Retained Award has now been listed for conciliation before the IRC’s Acting President Walton on 10 May. In the meantime the parties have been directed to confer, with a series of meetings to be held commencing Monday 29 April. The Union is obviously reluctant to prejudice these discussions before they commence and so is reserving further comment at this stage. More to follow.

Sprinklers in all homes?

This week’s SITREP returns to the FRNSW “Future Outlook” blueprint for the next twenty years of FRNSW. Today it is the question of fire prevention.
Fire prevention is front and centre in “Future Outlook”. Nothing controversial in that surely? We’ve been doing fire prevention work for years, so what’s changed? For a start, in the “Core Functions” section fire prevention takes clear precedence over fire suppression, rescue, and hazmat. Arse about, surely?

When this emphasis is read along with the paper’s discussion of ageing populations, expanding populations, the need to be “financially sustainable” and of course the requirement to exercise “financial restraint”, a different picture emerges. And then we are presented with this gem: “(FRNSW will)…promote residential domestic sprinklers in all homes particularly new subdivisions where fire service response may be delayed due to distance”.

Why would response be delayed? If FRNSW continues to do its core job of putting out fires in 2033 as it does in 2013 then surely this will not be a concern?

Of course, if the future is less fire appliances, less stations, more cutbacks, more emphasis on fire prevention and good luck to the general community coping with emergencies because we’re going to take a while to get there, then it all begins to make sense.

Throw into the mix the surprise announcement of the new (and completely unexplained) “Community Emergency Response Teams” and the picture becomes clearer still.

Future Outlook is not pulling any punches. Fire prevention and community volunteerism is posited as a cost effective alternative to what we currently do. The problem, as always, is that while the above might make sense in terms of saving money, it doesn’t make sense for emergency response. We will still need safely crewed appliances, and the community will still want them, in 2033. Whether we have them is entirely a political question, and largely up to how well we fight to defend our job.

May Day reminder – Sunday 5 May

The 2013 Sydney May Day march will be held on Sunday 5 May with members meeting at Parliament House, Macquarie Street at 1130 hours. Following the march, the Union will be putting on food and beverages for members and their families. It would be helpful for catering purposes if members who intend coming along could let Alison or Julie know with a simple phone call or email (

Jim Casey
State Secretary



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