SitRep 34/2021

June 30, 2021

COVID-19 Restrictions Code Red Remains in Place

While we are committed to working with the Department to ensure the communities we serve and FBEU members stay safe, firefighter safety is non-negotiable.

The current Code Red was issued in response to a serious growing health crisis, the lack of information received from the COVID-IMT which had been completely scaled back, and the concerns of members who did not want to unnecessarily be directed to report to an area under the current Public Health Order.

Only the Union can rescind a Code Red, not the Department, and the Code Red issued 26 June 2021 remains in effect.

Since issuing the Code Red, we have met with the Department twice and a third meeting is scheduled for today. There are numerous points of contention around the Pandemic Level Restrictions in place, particularly the lack of clarity around what would trigger the Department escalating restrictions to Level 4. At the moment, the Department is relying on a rather subjective interpretation of existing data, with the view that there are low untraceable infections in the community and therefore Level 3 restrictions are adequate. We strongly disagree with this view and believe Level 3 does not go far enough in certain crucial aspects and have put to them that certain parts of Level 4 could instead be negotiated.

We have so far been unable to reach a mutually agreed position.

Recent updates to members from the Department imply that the Code Red is no longer in effect but this is not the case. Once again, only the Union can rescind a Code Red and it remains in place.

Finally, to clarify our position on the relieving restrictions, all those who have worked in the Greater Sydney Area, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong, and Shellharbour since 21 June 2021 are already under the current Public Health Order and can continue to relieve in these areas, NOT RESTRICTED BY ZONES, which is implied by Level 4 restrictions.

We will continue to update members regularly. If you have any questions or concerns, contact the Union Office or your SCOM Rep.

Stay safe.

In Unity,

Shane Kennedy

State Secretary

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