SitRep 17/2021

April 9, 2021

  • CAFS Aerial Pumper Roll Out
  • Retained to Permanent Pathway – In Principle Support Secured
  • Retained Working on Travel Days During Clause 29 Deployments
  • Claiming Deployment Entitlements
  • Easter Sunday 2021 Consolidated Leave
  • May Day Events – Registrations Open
  • FBEU State Committee Election

CAFS Aerial Pumper Roll Out

Last week, the Department wrote to us of their intention to begin training on the new CAFS Aerial Pumpers on 12 April 2021, even earlier than the proposed date reported in SitRep 15/2021. It’s the first official correspondence about the roll out we’ve received since 22 October 2020. At that time, the Department indicated that the rollout was postponed indefinitely to allow for repairs following delays in delivery of the appliances.

The proposed training has still not been reviewed by your Health & Safety Representatives (HSRs) or the Training Review Committee (TRC), so at yesterday’s meeting of the TRC it was agreed that training would be delayed until the FBEU and HSRs reviewed it. The Department also needs to first respond to the issue of how many operators are required for this appliance.

SafeWork NSW gave a directive to FRNSW that these appliances are to be recognised as “new work” which the Department agreed with. To be clear, these appliances are not Major Aerials but CAFS Aerial Pumpers, which means that there is currently no agreed minimum for the number of qualified operators. When a Risk Assessment and inspection was conducted in December 2020, the input from all members and HSRs consulted was that these appliances needed more than two operators for them to be used safely. This feedback has all but been omitted from the Risk Assessment and other documents provided by FRNSW relating to these appliances. In addition to this, there are a number of other safety concerns being raised by the HSRs that have yet to be resolved.

I know that disruptions caused by changes to these dates take a toll on members, but I want to be clear that any reports that it is the Union holding up the rollout couldn’t be further from the truth. From the start, this roll out has been marred by delays due to mechanical faults and in delivery. It was misleading of the Department to claim that CAFS Aerial Pumpers could be expected to be in operation by July 2020. Members want these appliances operational in as timely a manner as possible and we have been proactive in our engagement with the Department to see that happen, including written requests for updates, always with members’ safety as our utmost priority.

The reality is that the Department has been dishonest with members in attempting to push through training dates they know are not feasible rather than waiting for the training to be reviewed by the TRC and all attendant issues are resolved. The cart was put before the horse when FRNSW paid for these appliances without understanding any of their legal obligations to make sure this roll out was safe and effective.

Members are reminded that the acceptance of these appliances and the participation in training related to these appliances is banned until the training is accepted by the TRC. Details of the standing Code Red are here. There will be a meeting via Zoom for all impacted members next Monday, with invites sent out today, and the TRC will meet again next Wednesday.

Retained to Permanent Pathway – In Principle Support Secured

For the past six months, the FBEU has been pursuing a Retained to Permanent Pathway. This came out of the member surveys which were used to create our log of claims. We have included this pathway in our Award claim that is currently before the Industrial Relations Commission.

Last week, the FBEU State Committee unanimously gave in principle support to a pathway where 20 per cent of general intake positions are quarantined for “eligible” Retained members. FRNSW has also provided in principle support for this proposal. It marks a significant milestone in developing and supporting a career pathway for Retained firefighters.

We still need to finalise the details and implementation of the pathway, including eligibility, which will be done via a policy. A working group made up of Retained firefighters, the Retained Sub-Branch, FBEU staff and State Committee officials has been meeting to develop this plan and make sure it works not just for Retained staff but for the whole workforce.

Retained Working on Travel Days During Clause 29 Deployments

We are aware of Retained staff being asked to work on their travel days while deployed on strike teams under Clause 29 of the Award. The Award does not allow for a situation where staff work on the same day that they travel, which has led to FRNSW choosing to pay staff for travel and not compensate them for the work performed on those days.

We’ve proposed to FRNSW that they treat such days as a travel day then, in addition, pay for the actual time worked on that day. For example, if you work four hours on the day you travel home, our expectation is that you will get paid from midnight to the time you arrive home per the Award, plus the four hours that you worked that day. We are working to ensure members are not worse off in these kinds of situations and will provide an update once FRNSW has come back with a position on this proposal.

Claiming Deployment Entitlements

With flood deployments now coming to an end, we want to make sure members understand how to claim the entitlements outlined in SitRep 15/2021.

Permanent members: You must check SAM to ensure your times and dates are accurate. This will be processed with payroll.

Retained members: Your Captain or Zone Admin team will create a Major Emergency timesheet for you in GARTAN Timesheets. Make sure your times and KMs are correct. The system automatically applies the entitlements outlined above including the minimum 16 hour working day even if your times for a working day are less than 16 hours.

All members: Your Allowances are all to be claimed through the ESS System. Employee Services > Travel & Expenses (NEW) > Request Travel Approval > Reason (Major Incident with Overnight Travel) > Enter your dates, destination, and description of trip > Internal Order Number is 31156 > Save. The system will automatically input your Travel Allowance for the destination, including any other allowances applicable, for the time period entered. Don’t forget to claim meal and refreshment allowances for any period where you did not receive a substantial meal or refreshment.

If there are any questions about these processes, or anything you submit is rejected, get in touch with your organiser.

Easter Sunday 2021 Consolidated Leave

Further to last week’s SitRep regarding members who worked on Easter Sunday, we’re seeking confirmation from FRNSW that an additional hour of consolidated leave will be accrued for operational firefighters who were on duty during Sunday’s transition from Daylight Savings to Standard Time.

This is on the basis of the wording within the Award which states that consolidated leave will accrue for ‘hours actually worked’. We’ll update members in due course.

May Day Events – Registrations Open

Registrations for May Day events are open below. You can register for yourself, your crew and/or your family members. We’ll provide more details about locations, events, and after events as they come to hand. 

Parramatta: 1030hrs Saturday 1 May 2021. Meeting point to be confirmed. Register here.

Newcastle: 1000hrs Saturday 1 May 2021. Meeting point to be confirmed. Register here.

Wollongong: 1000hrs Saturday 1 May 2021. Lowden Square (next to Wollongong Station). Register here.

If there is a May Day event in your town and you would like support to organise a FBEU contingent, please get in touch with your SCOM Rep, organiser or the Union Office at

FBEU State Committee Election

If you have not yet received your voting materials, contact the NSW Electoral Commission directly as soon as possible for assistance via

Polls close at 1700hrs Thursday 29 April 2021. Please allow enough time for your ballots to be returned by post.

The list of candidates should be displayed on the noticeboard in your station/workplace.

You can find more information on the candidates on the FBEU website here.

In Unity,

Leighton Drury

State Secretary

You can download this SitRep here.



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