During the 2016 ACT Election Andrew Barr and Labor made several promises in response to the ACT on Fire campaign which were strongly supported by you, the community.
They won the election, and now they’re in charge – but it’s up to us to hold them to account.
We’ve created a helpful Promise Tracker that makes it easy to see how the ACT Labor Government is tracking.
Recruit and train more firefighters to replace those who will leave the service and to help reduce the ballooning rate of overtime and fatigue. We understood that the pre election promise would mean that a re-elected Barr Government would recruit additional firefighters including:
This would all be by direct recruitment at recruit level. It would not involve lateral entry.
In May, the Barr Government announced it would train a college of 16 firefighters in October of 2017. While these will help to manage overtime, and replace retiring firefighters ACT Fire and Rescue is set to be 40 firefighters short by the end of the 2017 and this new college of 16 would only go part way to resolving that problem.
The Barr Government is currently conducting a “lateral recruitment” process, which means recruiting a small number of trained firefighters from interstate. While this will go some way to addressing the shortage, it is not what was promised, and represents a loss of career opportunities for Canberra’s young women and men who want to be firefighters.
To expand firefighting capability with an additional pumper-aerial appliance providing a fully-crewed fire truck as well as additional aerial capability.
No progress has been made on acquiring this extra appliance for ACT Fire and Rescue. This failure has regularly been an issue when Canberra’s sole aerial firefighting appliance ‘The Bronto’ has broken down and been unavailable while repairs are carried out.
On 23 June this year, the ESA Commissioner told the A.C.T. Legislative Assembly Budget Estimates hearing that it would be more than 2 years before an additional aerial appliance would be in use.
THAT DELIVER THE BEST PLANNING AND SAFETY OUTCOMES FOR THE CITY
2016 amendments to the Emergencies Act 2004 had the effect of abolishing the Bushfire Abatement Zone for operational purposes. This has continued the move away from the recommendations of the McLeod Inquiry into the 2003 bushfires, and the Coroners’ Inquiry into the deaths from those fires.
The ACT government should restore the arrangements put in place after the 2003 bushfires, so that ACT Fire and Rescue can assume incident control if a fast-moving grass fire is likely to impact upon the city area.