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LABOR FIGHTS TO SAVE FIRE TRUCKS

Written by City Reporter

LABOR FIGHTS TO SAVE FIRE TRUCKS

NSW Labor is demanding the Government reverses a dangerous decision to remove water tankers from three regional fire stations, including in the Blue Mountains where hundreds of homes have been lost in catastrophic blazes in recent years.

It’s been revealed the Government is relocating fire trucks from Springwood and Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, as well as Kariong in the Central Coast and Toronto in Lake Macquarie. Each station will lose one truck, which will be moved to stations at Wallerawang and Windsor.

The Member for Blue Mountains and Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Trish Doyle, said she is shocked and angered by the decision.

“The fire season is already upon us, how can the Government possibly think about stripping back resources at any fire station in the State? It’s disgraceful.” Ms Doyle asked.

“The Government wants us to believe that they’ve listened to our firefighters and communities after the last horrific fire season but this shifting of appliances shows us that they’ve not learnt a thing.”

In 2013 two hundred homes in the Springwood and Winmalee areas were destroyed by fire in two hours.

“Moving fire trucks out of a highly spontaneous fire territory is a backward step,” Ms Doyle said.

“During the Black Summer fires both Katoomba and Springwood stations were able to supply staff for strike teams due to the extra numbers at these two larger stations. Make no mistake, if the trucks go, jobs will go too. That is an outrageous proposition.”

Ms Doyle joined representatives of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and outraged community members outside Springwood Fire Station today to protest the move.

Ms Doyle added: “If Windsor and Wallerawang need fire tankers, the Government should provide them. This move is at the detriment of the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Lake Macquarie communities.

“The Hawkesbury, particularly, should be covered by full-time staff, with necessary resources. It’s like robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“Springwood does not have an RFS station, so moving trucks from a Fire and Rescue station is ridiculous! Our Fire Stations have had such tankers since WW2; they are also used for HAZMAT incidents, for water supply at accidents on the Great Western Highway and other local roads. We need more resources not less.”

“I demand that the Government reverse this dangerous decision.”

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