Emergency Services Budget
The Hon. PETER BREEN: My question is addressed to the Minister for Emergency Services. Will the Minister explain how the State's emergency services benefited from the budget handed down today by the Treasurer?
The Hon. TONY KELLY: I thank the newest member of Country Labor for his question. As honourable members know, today's budget had some particularly good results for emergency services in country New South Wales. I am pleased to inform honourable members that this is another record budget for the New South Wales emergency services. In fact, it is the twelfth consecutive record budget. In total, emergency services have been allocated $765 million in this year's budget.
The Hon. Greg Donnelly: How much?
The Hon. TONY KELLY: An amount of $765 million, vital funding that will ensure the State's families, businesses and visitors have even greater protection in times of natural disasters and other major emergencies. In recognition of the emergency services' heavy workload and increasing investment in training, infrastructure and equipment, this year's budget is an increase of $65 million—or 9.3 per cent—over last year. Over 12 years the Government has committed a total of $6.1 billion to the State's emergency services so they can carry out their work safely and effectively. That is a proud record and is clear proof that the Government has not shirked its commitment to redress the years of neglect emergency services suffered under the previous Coalition Government.
The people of New South Wales know they can always rely on their emergency services—including the New South Wales Fire Brigades, Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service [SES]—to protect and help them during emergencies. Did I mention it was a record $765 million? I am sorry the Treasurer is not present to hear how grateful I am. This budget reinforces community confidence by ensuring the emergency services have the world-class equipment, resources and accommodation they need. One of the key commitments was to upgrade the emergency services vehicle fleet and this budget continues that work, with almost $53 million allocated this year for bush fire tankers, fire engines, SES response vehicles and other additions to the fleet.
The New South Wales Fire Brigades' budget is a record $523 million, which includes $18 million in funding for 50 new fire engines, hazmat vans and other vehicles to be deployed to stations including Kiama, Hay, Umina, Coledale, Mt Victoria, Macquarie Fields, Mt Druitt and Seven Hills; $6.2 million for new gas monitors and enhancing other firefighter safety and counter-terrorism equipment; and $1.86 million to establish and support community fire units. Twelve Fire Brigades stations around the State will be renovated as part of a $7.1 million program to improve day-to-day working conditions for our fire crews. These include Moama, Menai, Budgewoi, Matraville, St Marys, Turvey Park and Blackheath, where work will provide upgraded facilities such as washrooms, training areas, mess rooms, female change rooms and locker rooms.
The commitment of our volunteer firefighters has been recognised in this year's Rural Fire Fighting Fund, which has been set at an unprecedented $168 million—a 20 per cent increase on last year. This includes $34.1 million for more than 260 bushfire tankers and $51.7 million in brigades equipment, maintenance and operating costs. I am sure the Rural Fire Service volunteers will welcome a major investment of $10 million for new and upgraded brigade stations around the State. I will continue my story later. [Time expired.]
The Hon. JOHN DELLA BOSCA: If honourable members have further questions, I suggest that they place them on notice.
Questions without notice concluded.