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Renewed push to combine major fire organisations following Tathra disaster

There are renewed calls for the Rural Fire Service and Fire & Rescue to fall under one central command following Sunday’s Tathra firestorm.

Two independent investigations into a blaze which destroyed 69 homes in Tathra will be held after reports of communication issues.

The NSW Rural Fire Service turned away offers of help from Fire & Rescue NSW on two occasions when the Tathra fires broke.

An expert’s recommendations, which aimed to end the firefighting turf war, were rejected by the state’s Carr government within an hour of being handed down in 1996.

Author of the report, John Hiatt, tells Chris Smith his recommendations to merge the organisations weren’t analysed by the premier or the attorney-general.

He’s urging the Berejiklian government to revisit his recommendations, saying lives are at risk.

“I made my decision on the basis that it was for the safety of the whole of the New South Wales community not for the interests of one section of the firefighting organisation.”

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