On Tuesday the new Emergency Services Minister, Steph Cooke, and Acting FRNSW Commissioner Stifler attended the Budget Estimates inquiry to answer questions about FRNSW expenditure, performance and effectiveness. Budget estimates are a key process of government transparency and accountability. And for FBEU Members and the community, an opportunity to assess whether decision makers put their money where their mouth is. This round of estimates focused heavily on FRNSW response times, growth of Professional Firefighters, and inaction around capital expenditure to fund training, safer workplaces, appliances, and equipment.
The FBEU have significant concerns about the responses from decision makers and will be seeking further particulars about those questions taken on notice. In particularly, with questions relating to FRNSW’s engagement with consultative firms like KPMG and the costs associated with these arrangements. Over the coming weeks, the FBEU will continue to communicate to Members about the consistent themes of this content along with the importance of our Fix our Fire Service campaign and in holding FRNSW to account. In the meantime, we encourage Members to view the below footage and make their own assessments. Video 1: Minister and FRNSW Acting Commissioner Video 2: FRNSW Acting Commissioner Only Floods Inquiries – Member input needed
Two inquiries have been initiated in relation to the recent floods experienced across NSW. This event devastated communities and highlighted key deficiencies in response coordination and the use of FRNSW Firefighters. The 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry has been established by the NSW Government. It’s terms of reference can be found here. The other inquiry is the Inquiry into the response to major flooding across New South Wales in 2022, and has been established by the Legislative Council and is a Select Committee of the Upper House. It’s terms of reference and further details can be found here. The FBEU will be making submissions in both inquiries on behalf of our Members. In preparation for those submissions, we are seeking interested Members to complete the below survey so we can gather and collate our Members experiences and knowledge and ensure your views and experiences are considered by these inquiries.
Please note you do not need to have attended these recent events in order to complete this survey. If you have experiences or qualifications that you believe are relevant and go to the terms of reference which you wish to share with us, please complete the second portion of the survey. We are keen to hear from all Members regarding these matters. The survey can be found here.
Special General Meetings wrapped up today with the Central Coast Sub-Branch completing their meeting this afternoon. Results of the SGM’s can be found here. FRNSW’s latest initiative, another consultation failure
Today, the Acting Commissioner issued communications to workers titled ‘A Reform is Coming’.
It will come as no surprise to Members that there has been no consultation on this correspondence, let alone the initiative itself. We do not know what ‘allowing Permanent Firefighters to work as Retained’ on their days off looks like nor how it fits within the existing industrial arrangements.
While this wishlist from the Acting Commissioner might read well, the detail is absent and more importantly, genuine consultation non-existent. The FBEU have written to the Acting Commissioner demanding a meeting. We will not agree to anything that has a negative impact on your wages and conditions and we will endeavour to update Members once FRNSW are back at the consultation table.