Sitrep 23/2023

April 28, 2023

Fire fatalities increase – A shocking indictment on the ‘Plus Plan’

‘We know response times matter’ is one of several phrases uttered reluctantly in a media release from FRNSW today as the department move to publicly disclose the peer-reviewed fire fatality report referenced in Sitrep 21.

The ‘Adverse Structure Fire Outcomes 2016-2021’ demonstrates a statistically significant increase in structural fire fatalities within FRNSW jurisdictions under the tenure of Commissioner Baxter, and underscores the importance of response times to survivability in structural fires. You can read both the media release and report here.

Members are encouraged to consider the reading in contrast to the Commissioner’s more recent contributions before Budget Estimates:

When we look at that whole system year on year on year, we have continued to track down in terms of the amount of residential fires occurring, the amount of fatalities occurring and the amount of significant injuries occurring.

the primary part of our job is community interaction and community education and prevention. is a way of moving to a more modern application of our resourcing approach, rather than the old-fashioned approach was a fire truck sitting in a station to respond to its local area.

The Commissioner is said to be currently on annual leave. 


FRNSW media team threaten members over ‘reputational damage’ concerns

While the media team were preoccupied attempting a positive spin on today’s media release, the Union office have this week had numerous reports of the FRNSW media team harassing FBEU members over their participation in the current industrial campaign, citing ‘reputational damage’ to FRNSW. The irony in the current circumstances needs no explanation.

We encourage all members report such incidents to the FBEU office immediately. The campaign will continue until further notice. 


When times not on your side, we are

The FBEU’s State Election campaign shows that the NSW community expect Professional Firefighters to be resourced with everything we need to get the job done, including the ability to respond promptly in an incident. 

Statistics from our campaign advertising show that our message received a much higher level of engagement from voters than most political and commercial ads. For instance, between 40% and 90% of viewers (depending on platform) engaged with our ad from beginning to end, far higher than the 5-10% completion rate that most ads achieve. This is evidence of the high regard that the public holds for our work, and the crucial role we have in communities. Our digital ads were shown on catchup TV, on news and lifestyle websites, social media, and YouTube, with voters engaging with them over 7 million times. We also ran ads in Sydney and regional newspapers and radio to reinforce our message.

With that in mind, the FBEU are encouraging members to participate in this year’s FRNSW Open Day where we will continue to highlight to the community the impact which a distinct lack of focus on our core operational role and needs is having on FRNSW’s service delivery and community outcomes.

In Unity,

Leighton Drury
State Secretary


For a printable version of this Sitrep, click here.