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Tony Abbott denies fire organisations are locked in turf war

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has denied the NSW Rural Fire Service and Fire & Rescue NSW are locked in a turf war.

Both organisations are standing by their response to the bushfire at Tathra, saying it was appropriate in the circumstances.

The RFS is facing criticism for turning down two offers of assistance from Fire & Rescue, in the initial stages of Sunday’s blaze which destroyed 65 homes.

Mr Abbott, a volunteer for the RFS, tells Ben Fordham there isn’t conflict and the organisations work “harmoniously together”.

“My experience on the fire ground as an RFS volunteer is that the services operate very well together.

“If anyone has made a mistake in terms of appropriately responding to this situation I’m sure lessons will be learned.

“The last thing we need… is to suddenly restructure two services that cooperate very well with each other.”

Mr Abbott tells Ben Fordham this isn’t the time for the union and the Greens to play politics.

“I fear the union has seen an opportunity here because they’re always seeking to… see the paid unionised staff do more and have the volunteer non-unionised staff do less.”

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