Sydney Metro capitulate to FBEU members in major backflip

January 27, 2023

As a result of significant member-driven efforts, Sydney Metro will now re-design the Sydney Metro West & Western Sydney Airport rail tunnels to facilitate safe work practices for Firefighters and other emergency services personnel, at a cost of approx. $100 million.

Per previous sitrep, this extraordinary State Government blunder has been the result of cost-cutting measures relating to cross-passage tunnels, trading our safety and the safety of the travelling public for engineering controls derived from international ‘professionals’ with zero awareness of the operational realities of firefighting. 

The ongoing dispute reached fever-point last week, when a veto coordinated by the FBEU and the Police Association was adopted by FRNSW, RFS, and NSW Police. With careless disregard for the consequences, Metro continued to insist that they required neither the support of emergency services nor the State Government to progress design changes intended to halve the numbers of cross-passage tunnels in these projects.

A resolution to the matter was delivered to the FBEU on Wednesday following State Government intervention. Metro will now remedy the design and will proceed to ‘make change’ to their current personnel. Read more here or listen to our 2GB interview here.

The importance of this dispute should not be understated. Whether related to major infrastructure, cladding, or other incidents we attend, regulations designed to protect the community and address the operational risks in our work are under increasing threat.

I am proud to say that we are a Union that back our members and fight hard to protect our industry and the NSW community. 

Despite the misguided all-staff communication from Acting Commissioner Stiffler on Wednesday this dispute was resolved because FBEU members came to their officials with an issue and then stuck with their Union and did what was needed to win for fellow members. On this occasion, those members were the FRNSW Fire Safety team. A big thank you to Police Association officials who spoke to their members and office of the Police Commissioner to advocate on this issue as well.

This award round, all of us will be asked to step up and do what is right for our job and for our Union. Strength in Unity.

In Unity

Leighton Drury

State Secretary


A printable version of this Sitrep can be downloaded here.



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