MARSHALL CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO RESOLVE RFS RED FLEET ANOMALY

** A copy of Mr Marshall’s Notice of Motion is below **

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has today called on the State Government to amend the Rural Fires Act 1997 so that firefighting assets – vehicles and buildings – are vested exclusively with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and not local councils.

Mr Marshall tabled gave notice of a motion today in State Parliament today, demanding the government take immediate action to remove an unfair and costly burden from councils, which don’t purchase, own, nor operate RFS appliances.

“The law is unfair, absurd in the extreme, costly to councils and their ratepayers and is not reflective of the current RFS operations and practice,” Mr Marshall said.

“Section 119 of the Rural Fire Act 1997 requires RFS vehicles and buildings to be vested as assets in the hands of local councils, despite councils having absolutely no control over the procurement or use of those assets.

“The Act needs to be amended to correct this anomaly to ensure that RFS assets are exclusively vested in the RFS, including the associated maintenance and deprecation.”

Mr Marshall has previously expressed strong concerns about the matter after the NSW Auditor-General last year determined that firefighting assets are the property of councils and must be accounted for in their financial balance sheets.

“I encouraged and supported my local councils to refuse to comply with the 2022 Auditor General’s instructions and I commend them for standing their ground on behalf of their residents and ratepayers,” Mr Marshall said.

“I find the notion that RFS vehicles and other firefighting assets are deemed to be assets of each local council fanciful.

“Councils do not have effective management or control of any of these assets and have no say in the acquisition, deployment, or disposal of them.

“I am calling on the State Government to act now and amend Section 119 of the Rural Fires Act 1997 to put the ownership of these assets where they should be, exclusively with the RFS.”

NOTICE OF MOTION: NSW RURAL FIRE SERVICE ASSETS

I give notice that tomorrow I shall move that this House:

  1. Notes Section 119 of the Rural Fires Act 1997 requires NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) vehicles and buildings to be vested as assets in the hands of local councils despite councils having no control over the procurement, not operations of those assets;
  2. Acknowledges that this situation is unfair, absurd in the extreme, costly to councils and their ratepayers and not reflective of current RFS operations and practice; and
  3. Calls on the government to amend the Act to correct this anomaly and vest all RFS assets exclusively with the RFS.

Hon. Adam Marshall MP

Member for Northern Tablelands

24 May 2023

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