In a Private Members Statement to the NSW Parliament Upper House, I took the opportunity to praise local emergency services battling fires across the state and particularly in the Blue Mountains. I also took the opportunity to correct the record regarding categorically false claims regarding Emergency Service budget cuts made by the Labor Party.
The firefighters across the State, of which the vast majority are volunteers in the RFS, as well as Fire and Rescue and National Parks Service personnel are still out there today battling the blazes, mopping up or on standby to pounce on any fresh outbreak. These women and men have worked tirelessly to keep the community, our homes and our state safe. They have shown us yet again what the true Australian spirit is.
Turning to the Labor Member Trish Doyle’s claims made on the ‘catastrophic’ Tuesday that the budget for fire emergency services had been cut, I slammed the allegations as insensitive and factually wrong.
Labor’s Trish Doyle foolishly thought it clever to take the opportunity of a catastrophic fire emergency to play politics attacking the NSW government over alleged budget cuts to fire services.
The timing of the allegations ‘shameful’ and continued to outline the falsity of the allegations by stating budget facts including:
In 2019‑20, the New South Wales Government will invest a record $1.7 billion to combat emergencies and disasters, committing an unprecedented $105 million in extra funding to enhance rescue capabilities across the State. NSW RFS will receive a record $541 million in 2019‑20, an increase of 12.9 per cent. Fire and Rescue NSW will receive a record $774 million, which is an increase, as well as an additional $51.9 million for capital expenditure.
What Labor has failed to understand or worse hoped to deceive the public about is the unprecedented capital injections in the last financial year to invest in one off fire emergency capacity such as $17.5 million for the completion of the NSW Rural Fire Service headquarters; $26.3 million for the purchase of a 737 large air tanker and lead planes; and $6.8 million for additional aerial appliances.
Labor’s Trish Doyle should have known better, she should correct the public record and apologise to the community for causing fear and uncertainty at a time of fire crisis,” Mr Mallard concluded.
Please click here to watch my speech or here to read it on Hansard.