An extra 20 firies promised for Ballina
IT'S BEEN a long time coming but Ballina Fire Station could get an extra 20 permanent fire fighters, pending state election outcomes.
NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley yesterday promised the employment of 200 extra firefighters across NSW, with 20 going to Ballina, if elected as Premier in the upcoming March state elections.
Joining him for the announcement was NSW Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Guy Zangari, Country Labor candidate for Ballina Asren Pugh and President of NSW branch of the Fire Brigade Employees Union Michael Nairn.
Mr Daley said the promise would cost the Labor Government $7.5 million over four years and would make Ballina Fire station a permanent, 24/7 facility.
"Each year it gets hotter and drier making conditions more fire-prone particularly in rural and regional NSW yet unbelievably the Liberals and Nationals are cutting firefighting staff," Mr Daley said.
"In areas like Ballina with burgeoning tourism industry and is one of the largest regional towns in NSW, has an ever increasing population but there is the same amount of fire fighters here as there were eight years ago ... it is unacceptable. This delivery will create additional resources to keep the families of NSW safe."
President of NSW branch of the fire brigade Employees Union Michael Nairn said the promise of an extra 20 permanent firefighters for Ballina Fire Station would mean shorter response times and more safety for firefighters.
"Ballina has been earmarked for a permanent presence for a long time to join the retained staff, it's well overdue," Mr Nairn said.
"A lot of the (promised) jobs will work their way into the regional areas where the union and community have been screaming for jobs and our own members have been telling us we need these jobs," he said.
"It will mean an extra truck effectively too so a quicker response. We will be pushing for Ballina to get priority."