FIRE AND RESCUE NSW ART COMPETITION
ABORIGINAL FIRE SAFETY PROGRAM
The Hon. JENNIFER GARDINER:
My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Will the Minister inform the House about Fire and Rescue NSW' recent art competition and new Aboriginal fire safety program?
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER:
I thank the honourable member for her question and interest in this important community safety and engagement initiative. Yesterday a unique artwork was unveiled at Redfern fire station. The fire safety mural incorporates the artwork of four New South Wales schoolchildren. The project began as a local initiative undertaken by firefighters to increase community engagement and to promote fire safety messages in both the local Aboriginal community and the wider Redfern and Waterloo area. During Reconciliation Week 2010 Fire and Rescue NSW, with the assistance of the Department of Education and Training, launched a statewide art competition. The theme was "A Fire Safety Message" and 160 entries were received from Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, and as far afield as Jerilderie in the State's south-west. The artworks were displayed in the Redfern Community Centre during NAIDOC Week last year for public viewing prior to the judges deciding the winning entries.
The judging panel, comprising members of Indigenous organisations, local and State government agencies, Fire and Rescue NSW and local Gadigal elder and artist Charles Madden, chose four winners from the participating primary schools. Each winner was chosen because their artwork vibrantly communicated an important fire safety message. The winning artworks were converted into three-metre panels by artist Chico Monks. The unveiling of the mural formed part of the launch of Fire and Rescue's Aboriginal Fire Safety Campaign, which is aimed at reducing Aboriginal deaths and injuries from residential fires. This campaign, which was developed in consultation with Aboriginal organisations including the TAFE Eora Centre and the Aboriginal Housing Company, urges Aboriginal people to "protect your mob" by maintaining smoke alarms and eliminating fire risks around the home. This program and the Redfern fire station mural highlight the important work fire and rescue officers do every day in educating communities about fire safety. I encourage members and the community to visit Redfern fire station to see the wonderful mural.