Sydney fire stations have been closed for thousands of hours this year to manage staff costs, prompting claims that some stations are in the cross-hairs for permanent closure and that a tragedy is only a matter of time.
NSW Fire and Rescue said some of the 87 permanent stations had been closed for 864 shifts since November – or an average of one or two a day, in a bid to rein in its overtime bill. Known as taking a station ”temporarily offline,” the practice involves closing a station that is understaffed because of sickness and sending the rest of the firefighters elsewhere.
Neutral Bay was the most frequently closed since the policy was introduced on November 19, according figures collated by the Fire Brigade Employees Union. It was closed for up to 14 hours 68 times, including 20 occasions…
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