SITREP 19/2013

May 10, 2013

scissorsInside this issue:
  • Who voted Liberal? O’Farrell to cut your wages by 3%
  • FRNSW to be issued with sidearms?

Who voted Liberal? O’Farrell to cut your wages by 3%

NSW Treasurer Mike Baird last week announced that the Gillard Government’s legislated increase in employer-funded superannuation by 3% for all workers will not be funded by the NSW Government. Instead, Baird and O’Farrell expect these increases to be paid for by NSW public sector workers (including firefighters) by eating into the current 2.5% per annum wages cap.

What does this mean for us? If the O’Farrell Government gets its way then the 2.5% wage cap for 2014 just shrank to 2.25%, falling to only 2% per year for each of the next four years after that. Put simply, the O’Farrell Government intends cutting your take-home wages by a full 3% between now and 2019.

The last time the Liberal/National Coalition was in Government in NSW the-then Premier John Fahey closed the State Authorities Superannuation Scheme (SASS). That was in December 1992, and it saved the NSW Government billions by reducing the amount it contributed to public sector workers’ super from 17.5% down to the Commonwealth-legislated bare minimum that is today 9%. In other words, they cut the superannuation benefits of all post-1992 public sector workers (including firefighters) by 8.5%, and they did this without any form of compensation. Now O’Farrell expects you to pay another 3% in order to lift this back up to 12%, which will still be 5.5% short of his predecessor’s 1992 rip-off. Who voted for this?

FRNSW to be issued with sidearms?

Well perhaps not yet, but if this keeps up we might just need them.

Further to SITREP 27/2011 (Click here) which expressed suitable outrage over the July 2011 increase in the AFA false alarm charge from $500 to $750, Commissioner Mullins this week announced that the O’Farrell Government would be increasing the AFA charge on 1 July 2013 from $750 to $1,250. And this only a week after the Daily Telegraph revealed that O’Farrell’s big new fire tax was threatening to hit NSW households with annual levies of $1,000 and more (see SITREP 18/13).

If only the O’Farrell Government’s wages policy kept pace with its taxes, fines and charges.

These charges (which are the same for CBD multi-nationals as they are for pensioners who burn their toast) are a blatant revenue raising rip-off which do next to nothing to curb AFA rates. The same Government recently announced a new requirement for all aged-care facilities to install sprinkler systems (another AFA windfall), but at $1,250 a pop the real jackpot might just lie in FRNSW’s own “Future Directions” document, which (as SITREP 17/13 reported) promises to Promote residential domestic sprinklers in all homes particularly new subdivisions where fire service response may be delayed due to distance”.

This $1,250 fine – which is a 500% increase on the $250 charge which commenced in September 1995 and which was $500 as recently as June 2011 – is a massive hit by any measure. How long will it be before building occupants work out that they can avoid the $1,250 charge by starting a small fire? The pathetic pretence from FRNSW management that this is about ensuring that building occupants keep their systems properly serviced has run its race. Any policy that encourages people to start fires or disable AFA systems in order to avoid fines is dangerously stupid. More to follow.

Jim Casey
State Secretary



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