Majority of Cessnock Fire Stations off line – i.e. closed!
The budget cuts are so severe that the majority of Fire Stations in the Cessnock area are off line (that means closed) today.
I say to Barry O’ Farrell ‘These are mean cuts. The NSW Government only provides 14% of Fire Brigade funding and yet you are dogmatically forcing a reduction in services provided to the community under the guise of saving money. Just mean.’
by Donna Sharpe, Newcastle Herald, 16.8.12
CESSNOCK Councillors have been told that small Fire Stations such as Bellbird, Kearsley, Abermain and Weston will be taken offline as the State Government seeks to slash $28 million from the NSW Fire & Rescue budget.
Councillors heard last night how those four stations would be closed today and officers at Cessnock left to cover an area from Paxton to Maitland and west to Branxton.
Jeremy Brown, a permanent firefighter based at Cessnock, appealed to councillors to take the issue up with the OFarrell government because ives were at stake as a result of officers from stations like Cessnock dealing with long response times and lengthy trips.
Mr Brown said he had been based at Cessnock for 15 years and had experienced cuts over time but nothing as severe as this.
Greens Councillor James Ryan received unanimous support for his motion to invite the Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins to address the Cessnock council meeting on September 5.
Last month Mr Mulliins categorically denied union claims that two Hunter fire stations could temporarily close at any time if the NSW government pushed ahead with budget cuts.
He told the Newcaastle Herald a few Sydney stations could be taken offline at any time, but said fire stations in the Hunter were “too thin on the ground” for that to happen. “We wouldn’t take that risk” he said.
Cr Ryan said he was alarmed to hear that four out of Cessnock’s six fire stations would be closed today. He said Cessnock would be one of the communities to suffer the most form the budget cuts.