State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, will use Parliament today to call on the NSW Emergency Services Minister to end a plan by Fire & Rescue NSW to add Minmi Fire Station to a secret list of fire stations that will be allowed to be taken offline in the event of a staffing shortage.
Ms Hornery is concerned that as we head into fire season, taking a fire station offline, such as Minmi Fire Station, puts the growing communities at Minmi, Fletcher and Black Hill at risk.
This is a simple cost cutting exercise that has major risks for firefighter and community safety.
The Notice of Motion will call on the Minister to fix critical station understaffing and underfunding and prevent Fire & Rescue NSW from taking Minmi Fire Station offline.
“At the moment, fire stations without sufficient safe crewing levels are supplemented by other Firefighters at overtime rates, which is necessary to keep our communities safe. Staffing shortages can be avoided by fixing the critical understaffing and underfunding of the service,” Ms Hornery said.
“Taking any fire station offline deprives a local community of a critical emergency response, leaving any response up to fire stations from further away and reducing the number of fire trucks at any incident.
“The population in the Wallsend electorate is growing at a rapid rate every single year. That means more people, more houses, and more vehicles on the roads.
“The NSW Government should be turning its mind to increasing fire services to serve this increasing population, but instead, they want to shut local fire stations down to save money.
“If there were multiple incidents at the same time within the Minmi Fire Station area or surrounding areas, then one less fire truck in the system means people will be waiting longer for trucks to come from further away.
“In 2021 and in a so-called modern fire service, this is completely unacceptable.
“The staff at Minmi deserve the respect of having their crewing at a safe number of four at all times, so that they can protect their community and do their job.
“The community deserves their fire truck to remain online. They pay their taxes, they pay their Emergency Services Levy through their insurances and their rate notices, and to deprive them of their fire protection despite that would be an insult.
“I will be calling on the Minister to urgently intervene to prevent Fire & Rescue NSW from taking Minmi Fire Station offline,” said Ms Hornery.