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To: Minister Felix Ellis

Save Our Fire Rescue & State Emergency Services

In 2021, the Tasmanian government committed to retaining the statutory authority of the State Fire Commission.

We call on the Minister to keep this promise and ensure that there is adequate funding to allow TFES to deliver a modern fire rescue and state emergency service response equivalent to that of mainland jurisdictions.

Why is this important?

The little information that is available indicates that the Minister's proposed changes to the Fire Service Act will strip the State Fire Commission of all statutory authority, shifting some of it to the Department Secretary who is also the Commissioner of Police.

Fire rescue and state emergency personnel have already felt the impacts of resources being stripped from TFS after the integration with DPFEM, which gave the Commissioner of Police influence over the fire service through their role as Secretary. We have grave concerns that these changes will see fewer resources available for TFES, which will prevent any sustained improvement to fire rescue and state emergency services.

WHS systems provided by DPFEM are failing, with over a dozen notices issued for suspected contraventions of the WHS Act. Most of the fleet was found to be unroadworthy and a shortage of mechanics is leading to delays and vehicles breaking down. Training systems are chaotic and aren't delivering for the evolving needs of the fire rescue and state emergency services.

Tasmanians already have some of the poorest emergency response statistics in Australia. The proposed changes will only make this worse, putting Tasmanian lives and property at further risk.
Tasmania, Australia

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2023-06-16 18:06:24 +1000

1,000 signatures reached

2023-06-16 11:48:57 +1000

Over 900 signatures - and the petition got a mention in the Mercury today:

2023-06-14 17:53:50 +1000

500 signatures reached

2023-06-13 17:11:41 +1000

100 signatures reached

2023-06-13 15:18:11 +1000

50 signatures reached

2023-06-13 13:55:52 +1000

25 signatures reached

2023-06-13 12:39:51 +1000

10 signatures reached

2023-06-13 11:14:28 +1000

During budget estimates, the Minister outlined what the emergency services levy could be used for under his proposal. Currently, levy funding is 'ringfenced', meaning it can only be spent on fire and rescue activities undertaken by TFS brigades. This protects the levy from being pilfered by governments for other projects.

The Minister appears to have a very different idea of what it means to ringfence emergency service levy funds. Unless this changes, it will be yet another broken promise that puts the community at risk.

2023-06-13 11:13:39 +1000

Talking about the proposed funding model for TFES, the Minister for Fire said "the budget will be handed down in April, you guys can expect to hear more from me about this"
The Minister has failed to provide any further detail regarding the proposed funding model and failed to provide additional information when asked by Hon Ruth Forrest MLC - Independent during budget estimates yesterday evening.
Why is the Minister hiding the funding model for TFES?
Here is the Minister's video, skip to 12:25:
Here is the estimates webcast online, skip to 57 minutes:

2023-06-13 11:12:13 +1000

It's now common knowledge that the Chief Fire Officer resigned over the Minister's proposed changes to the Fire Service Act. Watch the Minister's response to questions asked in Parliament here: