Today saw the launch of our media campaign ‘Don’t Watch Our Firefighters Burn – Help Us Protect
Your Community’ to increase community and political awareness to our current safety and resourcing issues. In the lead up to the upcoming state election we are calling on all political parties and candidates to commit to increasing funding to firefighting services.
Thank you to all who turned out today to support firefighters and our media campaign launch. It was indeed heartening and inspiring to see so many of you rally in support as we presented our case to the media in front of the State Administration Building. A very special thank you to those members who courageously addressed the gathering and the media today about the problems experienced by so many of our members who just want to get on and do the job.
We are also grateful to the other unions who attended and demonstrated their concern and solidarity with our cause, including the CEPU, CFMEU, SA unions and UFU Aviation Branch. Members of the Ambulance Employees Association were also welcomed with their Secretary Leah Watkins who spoke in support of our campaign and related a recent story her members told of our firefighters having to push start their appliance to leave a call out.
Premier Steven Marshall was nowhere to be seen but this is not surprising for the man ‘leading’ the government which has been telling us “Not a dollar more”, whilst publicly claiming record spending on the fire service. Strangely, this is not reflected in the recent Productivity Commission Report which shows South Australia at the bottom of the states for spending per capita on fire services and decreasing while other states are increasing spending.
Today’s launch progressed our ongoing safety and resourcing campaign to address the severe underfunding of our fire service. The current phase of the campaign asks for six commitments from all political parties and candidates:
- Fire trucks that don’t break down – Our fire trucks are unreliable and often break down. We have no spare trucks to cover them when break downs occur. We are asking for urgent funding to deliver 24 new fire trucks so we can continue to protect South Australians.
- Proper engineering support – There are simply not enough emergency vehicle technicians to maintain our fleet, meaning that there’s an avoidable backlog of maintenance and repairs. We need urgent funding for four additional engineering personnel so we can get our trucks back on the road.
- Essential safety equipment and protective clothing – we require asset management and replacement programs for our safety equipment and PPC.
- Proper training and skills maintenance – in a changing and volatile environment we need additional funding for more specialist training and to continue to maintain our skills so that we can properly protect our community.
- Better resources for our regional fire stations – we need a funding program to provide essential equipment or replace and upgrade old and out-dated equipment in our regional fire stations.
- A plan to upgrade our fire stations – we require a funding plan to upgrade and replace our older fire stations and provide proper facilities for all firefighters, together with safety measures to protect firefighters from toxins like diesel particulates.
What can you do?
Along with our media campaign launch we have created a new website and we shall be increasing our social media presence to raise the profile of our needs with the South Australian public. Our website (which is linked below) will outline our issues, needs, and asks. It will also include a letter template that people can very quickly and easily fill out that shall send to your local candidates. You can choose to use the template included or write your own personal message. We ask you all to do this to highlight to all parties and candidates the critical nature of our current situation and to encourage them to make commitments to increase funding to our service. We can also share this with family and friends to increase the visibility of our appalling underfunding so that they too can participate by communicating with the local candidates.
Members are urged to share our social media posts to further raise community awareness and the profile of our campaign to ensure maximum impact.
Thank you again to all you motivated and inspiring members who resolutely stand up to be counted as we continue to work hard to address the underfunding that is callously increasing the risk to firefighters and the community. Together we can make a difference.
Don’t watch our firefighters burn – Help us protect your community!!!