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Firies campaigns against service cuts

FIRIES are up in arms over proposed Tasmania Fire Service cuts. The United Firefighters Union of Australia (UFUA) launched a campaign to fight TFS budget cuts and a proposal to close the fire training centre and one fire station. TasFire Training is the only Emergency Response Team training provider in the state, and provides fire safety training to businesses around Tasmania. Operational fire fighters and administration staff man the facility.

These workers face redeployment in the TFS if the centre closure goes ahead. Tasmania Fire Service has proposed the cuts to save money. These cuts could be a tactic to reduce fire fighter numbers. The CPSU has two Members who the proposed cuts will affect. UFUA commissioned an independent report to examine the impact of the training centre closure.

The report shows in Tasmania: • There is a higher rate of fire incidents than other states; • The average weighted death rate is significantly higher than elsewhere; • Property losses are much higher than elsewhere in Australia; • The proportion of structure fires contained to one room is lower; • expenditure on fire services is just below the national average; but • The number of career and volunteer fire fighters is significantly lower than the national average.

The report recommends the Tasmanian Government should restore the funding cut in the 2011-12 budgets and a comprehensive review of TasFire Training. It also recommends the TFS should consider increasing the number of fire stations with career crews.

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