In March of 2022, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission ruled in favour of a Fire and Rescue NSW Order, resulting in up to 30 fire stations being temporarily shut down in the event that there aren't enough employees to staff them.
Secretary for the Fire Brigade Employees Union NSW, Leighton Drury, stated that Fire and Rescue NSW had been trying to implement the order since 2019 and that the recent decision was a "disaster waiting to happen."
Mr. Drury noted the Goonellabah Fire Station in Lismore, and stations in Richmond, Windsor, Riverstone and two stations in Grafton could be shut down as a result of the order:
"Ensuring that every fire station has sufficient staffing is extremely important to allow our emergency services to respond quickly, and as fully as possible, to any emergency and natural disaster."
In December of 2021, NSW MP, Mark Buttigieg, raised the Fire and Rescue NSW Order in NSW Parliament. Mr. Buttigieg also noted that NSW Transport Minister, David Elliott, had refused to deny that the measure was intended to save money in the budget but appeared to be in contradiction:
"Minister Elliott said, and I quote, 'If I had my way there would be a fire station in every suburb.' This completely contradicts his decision to allow these local fire stations to be taken offline."
Mr. Buttigieg also described speaking to fire fighters at the Camden Fire Station, Jonathon Wright and Max Murphy. They detailed how they received roughly $3000 a year as retained fire fighters who make themselves available at all times. According to Mr. Buttigieg, adding in the cost for call outs, the total cost for these fire fighters works out to be roughly $14,000 a year:
"Therefore the government gets great value from these fire fighters who don't do it for the money but are apart of the local community and work hard for them. The government would rather skimp on paying these people a small amount so that Camden and Picton fire stations would end up relying on surrounding stations like Narellan to fill the gaps."
Oran Park Fire Station Delay
The NSW Government first announced funding for a Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) station for the growing south-western Sydney suburb of Oran Park in 2015. The project was originally scheduled to be completed in 2018 but, by February of 2021, it was still expected to take a further 2 years.
In April of 2022 it was announced that construction had begun on the Oran Park site with a new expected completion date of either late 2022 or early 2023.