“The Canberra Liberals will ensure that the Territories emergency services have the best advice, staffing, training and equipment to fulfil their vital role. Canberra’s firefighters are passionate about safety and they know what they need to enhance safety for people in emergency situations. Our firefighters have been campaigning for retention of firefighters in the call centre and calling for a second Bronto for many years. Only the Canberra Liberals will deliver these outcomes in government.”
Guilia Jones MLA
Shadow Minister for Emergency Services
Emergency services exist to protect Canberrans and to provide quick reaction in case of emergencies of a medical or hazardous nature. The Canberra Liberals are committed to ensure that these vital services are equipped and organised to provide the most efficient and effective responses.
In addition to personal medical emergencies, the natural disaster event uppermost in the minds of many Canberrans is the Canberra 2003 fire storm. It remains etched in the minds of our people as one of the most difficult and dangerous experiences our City has lived through. During complex fires or emergencies we need to have confidence that our firefighters have all the resources they need to keep Canberrans protected. The ACT’s firefighters are warning that “The lessons of 2003 have been lost. ACT Fire and Rescue is understaffed, under resourced and under-prepared for the next major bushfire emergency”.
The Labor Government has taken its eye off the ball when it comes to supporting front line members of our emergency services.
This is attested to by the work of firefighters to campaign against the dangerous policies of the Labor-Greens Government. The ACT Government plans to replace firefighters with civilians in the call centre, removing expertise in fire management. They have also failed to increase the workforce commensurate with population increases.
The Canberra Liberals are committed to retaining firefighters in the ComCen which receives 000 calls, to avoid responses that misallocate resources, waste time or and cause confusion in how to respond. Canberrans who have lived through fires, such as in 2003, know why quick and informed responses are important in a crisis to save lives and protect property.
As well as seeking protection of their workforce from further cuts, firefighters have been calling for a second ‘Bronto’ vehicle.
A Bronto is a piece of firefighting equipment that can allow firefighters to respond to fires at a height, such as at apartment or office buildings. Fires in multistorey buildings can need to be fought from more than one direction, which is why a second vehicle is important. A second vehicle also provides backup if the current vehicle is under maintenance, or if there is more than one major fire at a time in Canberra.
Having a second Bronto with extra firefighters will mean equipment can be deployed with confidence and residents can rest assured there’ll be appropriate resources.
The Canberra Liberals’ Response
The Canberra Liberals will:
- retain fire fighters in the communications Centre (ComCen) which receives the ESA’s 000 calls;
- provide an additional elevated fire fighting appliance and addition fire fighters for its operation, to ensure that the city is well protected in the event of major or multiple fires or emergencies; and
- recruit 12 additional trained firefighters to operate the Bronto and ensure an important start in strengthening the workforce to cope with population growth.
The Canberra Liberals are committed to making sure our authorities have the best advice, staffing, training and equipment to fulfil their vital role.
 Stephen Gibbs, (Australian Fire Service Medal, 34 years’ experience in fire and rescue in the A.C.T) http://actonfire.com.au