JODI MCKAY MP
NSW LABOR LEADER
KATE WASHINGTON MP
LABOR SHADOW MINISTER FOR ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE
TRISH DOYLE MP
LABOR SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES
As NSW enters what is predicted to be one of the worst fire seasons on record, Labor has asked the NSW Auditor-General to urgently investigate whether the Liberals and Nationals have given our fire-fighters the resources they need.
NSW Labor Leader, Jodi McKay said “people expect the Liberals and Nationals to be ready for the coming fire season. I hope they are, but if they aren’t the independent Auditor will tell us what needs to be done to fix that.”
“We’ve only just seen the start of the fire-season in NSW, but already fires have taken lives, destroyed homes and impacted communities.”
Labor has suggested that the Auditor General takes a whole of government approach to the audit, considering:
- Rural Fire Service funding and resourcing
- Fire and Rescue NSW funding and resourcing
- Whether fire station closures have affected the fire response
- Whether staffing levels are adequate and sustainable
- What additional services and response measures are needed
- The adequacy of government support, and support from other agencies with key fire preparedness roles, such as the National Parks Service Ranger program.
This move follows weeks of confusion and competing facts from the Liberals and Nationals about whether funding had been cut to fire services in NSW.
Ms McKay said the confusion and anxiety about fire-fighting funds and resources is due to a deliberate campaign of misinformation from the Liberals and Nationals.
“We don’t need bureaucratic doublespeak or Liberal and National political spin. We need facts and we need them quickly.”
Labor Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Trish Doyle added that “The message I have heard from my conversations with firies across the state is that NSW needs more permanent and retained firefighters on the frontline to keep our communities safe.”
“The Liberals and Nationals must also urgently fill all vacancies within the Rural Fire Service’s professional, paid staff to adequately support and enable the work of our volunteer firefighters.”
Labor Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage, Kate Washington concluded by saying: “Communities have experienced firsthand the impact of savage cuts to our frontline fire-fighters in National Parks, but the government denies they’ve made any cuts. Communities deserve the truth – only the independent Auditor General can cut through the Liberals and Nationals lies and misinformation.”
WEDNESDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2019