Fire station cuts are a worry to union

Empty stations: Fire Brigade Employees Union Sydney south-west sub-branch secretary Richard Neville, NSW Labor Macarthur duty senator Walt Secord, Camden councillor Greg Warren and NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson are concerned about staff cuts at Narellan Fire Station. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale
Empty stations: Fire Brigade Employees Union Sydney south-west sub-branch secretary Richard Neville, NSW Labor Macarthur duty senator Walt Secord, Camden councillor Greg Warren and NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson are concerned about staff cuts at Narellan Fire Station. Picture: Jeff de Pasquale

A FIRE services union representative has criticised state government funding cuts that have often left Narellan fire station unmanned.

The Fire Brigade Employees Union Sydney south-west sub-branch secretary, Richard Neville, said cost cutting meant that fire fighters on leave were not replaced.

The remaining officers from the undermanned stations were distributed to fill gaps elsewhere while a crew, often from Concord, was brought out to man Narellan.

Mr Neville said travel time between Concord and Narellan left the station unmanned for more than an hour each way when there were vacancies. If a fire broke out during this time a crew from the surrounding areas would respond. Mr Neville said the Narellan station provided enhanced rescue services as well as filling the traditional fire and rescue roles.

Opposition Leader John Robertson said only one incident at the wrong time could lead to a tragedy.

He said people were paying for this service and expected the stations to be staffed at all times.

Camden MP Chris Patterson rubbished suggestions that the state government was endangering the lives of Narellan residents.

He said that during the 23 times in the past few months that the Narellan fire station was unmanned, it was always covered by other crews from the surrounding area.

"When crews have been moved, the station has been totally covered during that time," he said. "This is absolute Labor scaremongering. At no stage has the Narellan station been off-line and at no stage will it be taken off-line."

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