Marsfield Community Fire Unit
|About this Item||Subjects||Bush Fires; Fire Brigades
||Speakers||Tink Mr Andrew
||Business||Private Members Statements
Mr TINK (Epping) [5.00 p.m.]: I place on record my thanks to the New South Wales Fire Brigades, in particular the fire brigades that are based at Eastwood and Ryde, for the role they played in getting a community fire unit up and running in Busaco Road, Marsfield. Busaco Road runs in a north-south direction into the Lane Cove River National Park. There are almost 400 medium-density dwellings stacked down into the bushland. When a fire comes down from Pennant Hills in that area of the park—as happened in 1994 and 2001, since I have been a member of Parliament—those homes are immediately affected and threatened in the worst possible way. Indeed, in the 1994 fires a number of homes in the street were lost. In the fire that occurred over the last New Year break, the sky crane Elvis saved further property losses. Nevertheless, the site remains very dangerous and difficult. I would say it is probably the most dangerous single street in the northern districts of Sydney for bushfire risk.
Late last year I attended a police open day at the Eastwood police station and I spoke generally to Bruce Covey, the head of the Eastwood Fire Brigade, about what could be done. He suggested that a community fire unit should be set up. I circulated a letter to everyone who resides in Busaco Road asking for expressions of interest for the setting up of a community fire unit. A number of people responded and Bruce Covey, Gary Nash and a number of people from the Eastwood A Platoon came to what was effectively a public meeting. They were very helpful and supportive in establishing the group. I pay tribute to Mr Terry Munsey for his support. He was formerly was with the Eastwood Fire Brigade and now runs its Community Fire Unit Program. I pay tribute to the people at the Ryde Fire Brigade, especially John Taylor, who carried out a risk assessment as part and parcel of the determination by the fire brigade to set up a community fire unit at any location.
I thank John Hawkins, a long-term resident of Busaco Road. He and I have experienced two fires through the area. He and a number of other residents in Busaco Road have worked relentlessly to get this unit up and running. It takes a bit of time to get a unit going, and to obtain final approvals from the New South Wales Fire Brigades. In the meantime, to keep up enthusiasm, a couple of initial meetings and social functions were held. We became involved in Clean Up Australia Day. Brigades came from Eastwood and Gladesville in a massive effort to clean up the area and reduce the fire risk by clearing flammable rubbish from the bushland. It was a great effort by all concerned.
The trailer unit, which has standpipes, hoses, pumps, uniforms and equipment, arrived at Ryde Fire Brigade late last week. John Hawkins and I have been to see the trailer. Seven weekly training sessions, each lasting one hour, will commence in the middle of this month. The end result will be that by late August or early September the unit will be fully operational. As the staff at Ryde Fire Brigade pointed out, once the unit is fully trained it will be available to assist in fire emergencies until the fire brigade arrives. It can also be co-ordinated to carry out preventive burning in the park.
A problem has been experienced with clearance burning because of the lack of resources, the amount of planning required and the extraordinary manpower required. The community fire units offer, among other things, trained volunteers who have the flexibility to carry out burn-offs to reduce fire risk. I pay tribute to the Busaco Road residents and the New South Wales Fire Brigades for their fantastic interaction. Sometimes that interaction is forgotten with rural fire brigades. This program is a way for fire brigades to help the community in built-up areas, as they have in my area, and for that I thank them.