In the latest state budget, $12.9 million in expenses was cut from Fire & Rescue NSW, while the Office of NSW Rural Fire Services — a service run by volunteers — lost $26.7 million in expenses.
Byron Bay, which is currently being torn apart by fires, was also promised $5.85 million for a new fire station in Kingscliff. The funding has yet to arrive.
The cuts were all part of a larger $3.2 billion shake-up in the public sector, which saw thousands of jobs, bonuses and long-service leave entitlements lost.
Here are some of the ways state fire services could have spent those missing millions.
- The annual salary of 488 qualified firefighters, or 384 station officers
- Almost 70 new “Class 3 Pumper” trucks, heavy fire engines for both metro and regional areas which cost around $580,000 each
- 115 4WD fire trucks to reach fires in difficult terrain, worth $350,000 each
- Almost 50,000 fire-protective helmets at $818 each
- 123,100 flame resistant rescue coveralls at $329 each
- 10,739 gas exposure testing kits at $3,771 each
- The annual salary of 260 superintendents, or 241 chief superintendents.
Original Post from https://www.crikey.com.au/2019/11/11/nsw-bushfires-budget-cut/