Leichhardt and the Balmain peninsula remain at risk after Leichhardt fire station was forced to close temporarily on Friday due to staff shortages.
The closure came as a result of the Liberal government’s budget cuts to employee-related expenses in the Fire and Rescue NSW budget, impacting on the ability of fire stations to hire replacement staff for those off sick or on leave.
Greens MP and Member for Balmain Jamie Parker said:
“When the public service is attacked, public services immediately suffer and we’re seeing the results of the Liberal government’s savage cuts.
“When there is not enough staff, the station can’t operate and that puts local residents at risk.
“The Liberal government is slashing employee-related expenses within the fire department up to by $64 million over the next four years, meaning stations will increasingly be forced to close temporarily to save money in overtime.
“The Liberal government has closed the station once and with ongoing cuts it will almost certainly be closed again.
“The clear agenda of the Liberal government is an attack on the wages and conditions of public sector workers, and now we are seeing the direct results of these risky policies on the safety of the community.
“This closure means delayed response to emergencies, which places lives and properties at risk in our local community.
“Our hardworking fire-fighters are at the frontline of the Liberal government’s budget cuts, subject to last minute station closures and forced to operate on skeleton staff.
“Local residents and businesses are being put at risk as a result of the Liberal government’s short-sighted budget cuts,” Mr Parker said.
The Liberal O’Farrell Government’s June 2012 Budget imposed across-the-board cuts to the public sector wages bill by 1.2%, with Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) subject to a cut amounting to 1.75%.
Employee-related expenses in the FRNSW budget will be cut by $7.6 million in 2012/13 and by a total of up to $64 million over the next four years.
More: Alison Martin 9660 7586 or 0432 941 533
March 11, 2013 at 12pm