Emergency Services Minister hits back at fire union’s ‘act of bastardry’ after Tathra inquiry
65 homes, 70 caravans and 1,250 hectares were destroyed in the Tathra bushfires that broke out earlier this year.
In the days that followed, there were allegations of a turf war between the volunteer-based Rural Fire Service (RFS) and the full-time members of Fire & Rescue NSW.
An inquiry into the fire has found “palpable animosity” between the organisations and calls for urgent reform.
State Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant tells Mark Levy while there was animosity, “it existed in the dispatching of firefighters and not the actual firefighters on the ground”.
The report calls for civilian call dispatch services, the same operating service NSW Police have used for years, to rectify the issue.
Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (FBEU), who is responsible for the full-time firefighters, aren’t happy with the decision which would see them lose control of the service.
“The way they conducted themselves by putting that angst and extra angst into the community of Tathra was deplorable.”
FBEU told 2GB earlier this year there’s always been a “turf war” between the two organisations after the RFS rejected two offers for help from Fire and Rescue NSW.
Mr Grant came under fire from the union after saying their public comments about a turf war was “an act of bastardry”.
“They got very upset with me and said I’ve called them all bastards, which I didn’t. I said what they did was an act of bastardry towards those victims in Tathra.
“For them to have the thought that their house may have have been saved had they been deployed, well it’s clear that wasn’t the case.
“Everything that was done on the ground was done exceptionally well by both fire agencies… and the fire was just of the nature that nothing was going to stand in its way.”
Click PLAY below to hear the full interview
Image: David Neyle Facebook