Boosting the Fire Service front line
The Liberal Government has systematically undermined the Tasmanian Fire Service.
The 2014 budget transferred the cost of the State Emergency Service to the Fire Service, with no new funding.
This backdoor budget cut has resulted in an annual deficit of $2.5 million and has undermined the ability of the TFS to maintain buildings and replace equipment.
Labor is concerned by reports that staff have been spread too thin, resulting in a drop in the capability to volunteer brigade as volunteers are not being trained or serviced sufficiently.
Cuts to forestry firefighting staffing levels has also reduced frontline firefighting response capacity.
Labor will conduct a review of the organisational structure of the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management to ensure it is effective and that funding arrangements are transparent.
The review will take into account the recommendations of the Parliamentary Inquiry into The State Fire Commission 2016, particularly in relation to funding arrangements for the Tasmanian Fire Service and State Emergency Service.
The review will inform staffing requirements for TFS, to be considered as part of the budget process.
Protecting those who protect us
Labor is committed to looking after the physical and emotional wellbeing of emergency services personnel on the front line.
The incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst emergency service personnel is way too high.
Labor will support physical and emotional wellbeing programs across the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management.
Labor will introduce presumptive PTSD legislation within our first term for emergency services personnel who experience PTSD as a result of their work.
Modern infrastructure and equipment
Labor is concerned that budget cuts have resulted in an underinvestment in equipment and buildings.
Late last year there were reports about a shortage of suitable hoses, with concerns that replacement hoses had the potential to violently disconnect and shatter under pressure.
Labor will commit to funding immediate infrastructure requirements including:
- $1.5 million for the purchase of two Heavy Pumper Fire Trucks
- $4 million to refurbish volunteer and metropolitan stations around the state.
Priorities will be determined in consultation with the TFS and United Fire Fighter’s Union.
Protecting Emergency Services Workers on our Roads
Labor will adopt laws recently introduced interstate to protect emergency services workers on our roads.
The laws will require motorists to safely slow down to 40km/h when passing a stationary or slow-moving emergency vehicle that has its lights flashing or a siren sounding.
This proposal is consistent with laws in place to protect road workers and school busses stopping to drop off or pick up students.
Tasmanian Government Radio Network
Labor will commit to continuing the long overdue Tasmanian Government Radio Network (TasGRN) program.
The Network will provide interoperability between Tasmanian police, SES, ambulance, and firefighters, which was a key recommendation of the review into the 2013 Dunalley bushfires.