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Fire & Rescue NSW invests in Newcastle and Lower Hunter region

Published: 5th August 2013

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Greg Mullins today visited Newcastle announcing a number of new and upgraded fire stations and suite of other changes set to enhance fire and emergency protection across the Newcastle and Hunter region into the future.

The investment includes new fire stations in Rutherford, the Lambton / New Lambton area and Maryland and a major renovation to Cardiff Fire Station.

“Our aim is to ensure that the firefighters and the people of the Newcastle / Lower Hunter region have the most up-to-date fire and emergency facilities available.

“We are planning to build a new $4.6 million fire station in the Lambton / New Lambton area to replace the aging and inadequate fire stations at New Lambton, Hamilton and possibly Lambton.

“Cardiff Fire Station is about to undergo a $2.4 million facelift, turning the original station, built in 1971, into a state-of-the-art facility. In addition, we’ve just purchased land for a new $2.4 million fire station at Rutherford and a $2.5 million fire station at Salamander Bay, and we are in the process of identifying a suitable location for a new fire station in Maryland.

“Earlier this year, we opened the $3.4 million upgrade to the communications centre in Newcastle, which further enhances our effectiveness helping to reduce the time it takes to answer emergency calls and dispatch fire crews from both FRNSW and the NSW Rural Fire Service ultimately leading to greater public safety.”

Commissioner Mullins said FRNSW was also taking action to prevent fire stations like Swansea, Stockton, Minmi, Branxton, Bellbird and Paxton being temporarily taken offline due to staffing shortages and limited availability of on-call firefighters.

“Retained firefighters do a great job, however it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep retained fire stations online 24/7 due to changing employment patterns and demographics across NSW. This problem is not unique to this area but we are taking steps to address it. We are proposing to change the staffing arrangements at Holmesville fire station, which would enable us to re-deploy 16 permanent firefighters into the network to fill absences and keep more fire stations in the Newcastle and Lower Hunter region online and available to quickly respond to calls for assistance.

“We will maintain fire and emergency protection from Holmesville Fire Station with permanent and retained (on-call) firefighters responding to emergencies during the day and retained firefighters responding overnight.

“FRNSW remains committed to providing world class fire and emergency protection to the people of Newcastle and the Hunter – the investment in new fire stations and the changes to staffing arrangements at Holmesville, along with the significant investment in new resources in the region, will help us to achieve this.”