The Marshall Liberal Government has reaffirmed its strong commitment to the ongoing resourcing of the SA Metropolitan Fire Service, having allocated millions in additional funding for new state-of-the-art appliances and protective equipment.
In a meeting with United Firefighters’ Union of SA (UFU) Secretary Max Adlam and other union representatives today, Treasurer Rob Lucas recognised the important role of firefighters in helping to protect the community and outlined key Government funding commitments to continue to support their work and safety.
The Government welcomes the UFU’s acknowledgement that the Marshall Liberal Government had inherited significant legacy funding issues due to the failures of the former Labor government.
The Government has recognised the need for a long-term asset replacement strategy and last year’s State Budget commenced that process with significant increases in funding.
These include, but are not limited to:
- The Marshall Liberal Government provided the MFS with an additional $2m in 2020-21, and $3 million per year thereafter (indexed) to purchase additional appliances. In total, 12 appliances are currently on order, with the first 4 expected to be received in April/May 2021, and the remaining 8 to be received before early 2022.
- $2.8 million for a new Heavy Aerial appliance; and
- New protective equipment, including new helmets and breathing apparatus (an extra $4.3 million over four years) – the MFS has already taken delivery of 175 breathing apparatus airsets for allocation to nearby regional stations
In addition to this, the Government is also continuing a program of burnover protection on appliances. The MFS is committed to fitting burnover protection systems to 64 appliances (35 have already had protection systems fitted ahead of the 2020-21 fire season).
Treasurer Rob Lucas said he was advised the first four appliances were ordered in May 2019 from supplier Fraser Fire and Rescue New Zealand and had been due for completion by June last year. However, production was delayed due to a COVID-19 shut down.
“I am advised these new state-of-the-art appliances will provide enhanced response capability, carrying 2,500 litres of water, rescue equipment and employ burnover protection systems that will provide vital protection to crews responding to bushfires,” said Mr Lucas.
“The MFS expects to receive the first four appliances from April/May, and ordered another 8 appliances back in October last year. Of these remaining new appliances, I’m advised we can expect to receive half by the end of the year, with the remainder in early 2022.
“I also outlined to the UFU, as I had to the Australian Education Union and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, that no amount of industrial protest actually gives me one extra dollar as Treasurer to provide extra funding for resourcing.
“The Government also reaffirmed its position that resourcing decisions are budget decisions and are not part of enterprise bargaining negotiations.
“We recognise the critical role of our firefighters in protecting the community, and the Government continues to invest significant additional funding to ensure they have the appliances and safety protections they need to carry out this important work.
“It is now time for the UFU to engage in sensible discussions with Government negotiators for a timely resolution to enterprise bargaining.”