Bosses a burning issue for NT volunteer firefighters

Bosses a burning issue for NT volunteer firefighters

25 May 2011

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Australia — VOLUNTEER firefighters are accusing Bushfire NT of handing out burn permits too freely.

Organisation director Steve Sutton has rejected the allegations. “That’s not how we do business,” he said.

About 30 officers at the Acacia Hills volunteer bush fire brigade, south of Darwin, went on strike over disagreements with Bushfire NT.

The issues are:

A LACK of pay and resources to cater for the ever-increasing rural area;

FIREFIGHTING units had not been replaced in more than nine years;

BURN PERMITS were handed out over the phone without any inspection of the property or informing the local brigade.

Some of the firefighters were seen to be back on the job yesterday.

Mr Sutton said he sympathised with the officers and was trying to resolve the issue quickly.

“I’m not going to say anything negative about the brigade,” he said. “They still have our full support.” But he totally rejected the allegations of being slack when handing out burn permits and employing outdated fire units.

Bushfire NT, which receives grants from the NT Government, has about 520 volunteers and 21 brigades across the Territory.

The strike comes after Territorians were warned they would face one of the worst bushfire seasons for many years. A record wet season had created huge fuel loads across the NT.

Bushfires NT said it was meeting with the officers and the Territory Government about the issue.

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