PSA calls on NSW Government to halt proposed RFS / SES merger

Public Service Association (NSW)

The Public Service Association of NSW is calling on the NSW Government to halt its proposed merger of the Rural Figure Service and the State Emergency Service until proper community and stakeholder consultation has taken place.

Premier Dominic Perrottet today announced his government’s intention to merge the support staff of RFS and SES, despite no proper consultation having occurred with staff or affected communities.

“The Premier needs to pause and realise that if he doesn’t move cautiously and collaboratively he is literally risking the lives of people across the state,” said PSA General Secretary Stewart Little.

“The RFS had hundreds of vacancies heading into the recent catastrophic bushfires and the situation has not improved significantly since. The SES have had their budget repeatedly slashed by this government and desperately need a period of stability to consolidate.

“Neither the RFS or the SES have significant support staff resources as is. It’s hard to see how merging their functions will improve matters.

“The Rural Fire Service and the State Emergency Service were designed to operate separately for a reason. They serve completely different functions.

“Once again the government has stomped in with an expedient plan without bothering to consult with public sector workers or the communities affected. We’ve seen this movie before and it doesn’t end well.”

Mr Little said the Premier’s track record was a source of concern to RFS and SES staff.

“If form is any kind of guide, when the Premier says ‘merger’ what he really means is ‘budget cuts,'” he said.

“It takes a special kind of arrogance to look at the recent history of disaster response in this state and say, ‘You know what I think we need? To get out the razor.'”

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