Sitrep 60/2022 – Metro Tunnel issues continue; FRNSW breaches SafeWork reporting requirements; Log of Claims summary

November 25, 2022

Log of Claims – Member Meetings Complete and Survey Closed

As members would be aware, we recently held meetings across the membership for members to provide input into the log of claims being developed for the next round of Award negotiations due to commence shortly. 

Members have also been able to have input via a survey which has been open for a number of weeks now.

The survey has now closed and the meetings are complete.

We would like to thank all members who took the time to participate and provide feedback and suggestions. This information is invaluable to us in developing the log of claims, which is now in full swing. A further update will be provided shortly.

Update: Sydney Metro Project Cross-Passage Tunnels
This week the FBEU met with the office of Emergency Service Minister Steph Cooke concerning escalating issues with the Sydney Metro rail tunnel projects. The significant firefighter and public safety concerns were referenced in the previous sitrep.

The Minister’s office state that they had not been previously briefed on these issues but maintain that the Minister is equally as concerned about the project undercutting benchmark fire safety strategy and engineering. The FBEU understand that Minister Cooke has made representation to Transport Minister David Elliot to advocate for a resolution.

Most concerningly, it would appear that publicly available information on the Sydney Metro project highlights that the project initially signed-off on the appropriate cross-passage spacing for safe firefighting but appears to have later deviated from this standard. The Union understand that this was without the support of FRNSW, who were engaged in consultation.

The Union have submitted formal applications for documentation exchanged between Sydney Metro and FRNSW and will endeavour to update members as soon as possible.

It is expected that rectification of this issue could add tens of millions of dollars to the Sydney Metro project.

More to follow.

FRNSW Breach of WHS Legislation re Firefighter Cancer 
Four years ago to date, the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment (Firefighters) Bill 2018 was passed by the NSW Parliament enabling eligible firefighters diagnosed with any of 12 specified primary cancers, and who meet the corresponding minimum qualifying periods of service, to automatically be presumed to have developed the cancer because of their firefighting work.

Fast-forward to 2022, where the World Health Organisation has now declared firefighting as a ‘cancer-causing’ profession.

But an investigation from Safe Work NSW this month has determined that FRNSW has failed to report presumptive cancer claims to the Work Health and Safety regulator as is their legal obligation. Not a single presumptive claim has been reported in four years, a failure that carries the penalty of $50,000 and leaves FRNSW without important data highlighting the sections of the work force most suspectable to workplace cancers to date.

The Union understand FRNSW are working with Safe Work NSW to rectify the breach and to review existing notification procedures.

You can view the correspondence between the regulator and FRNSW here.

Nonetheless, it is paramount that legislation designed to protect workers is upheld and respected. As such, the FBEU this week wrote to Minister Victor Dominello, who is responsibility for the Safe Work portfolio, encouraging a prosecution of this matter.

Occupational cancer is real. You can’t paint over it. You can’t ignore it.

In Unity

Leighton Drury

State Secretary



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