The Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant announced a $6.8 million investment in the NSW Fire & Rescue’s aerial fleet after a demand for more Brontos.
Eight new aerial appliances are set to be introduced to undertake large-scale and intricate operations, including major fires in commercial buildings and high-rise residential buildings.
“There’s no question our state is undergoing a massive building boom – there are cranes across our cities and we must ensure our firefighters have the tools they need to support us in an emergency,” Mr Grant said.
“The residents of NSW should feel confident the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government is equipping our first-responders with the support they need to protect the community.”
We spoke to Mr Grant’s media team who confirmed decisions about the Bronto locations had not been made yet.
Apparently, the decisions will be made by NSW Fire & Rescue commissioner Paul Baxter.
We requested an interview with Mr Baxter and were offered an interview with deputy commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell instead.
Calls for a Bronto to service south-west Sydney were made by Liverpool Councillor Nathan Hagarty in the wake of London’s Grenfell Tower tragedy last year.
Since then, parts of the Paper Mill development at Liverpool also went up in flames last September.
In March local concerns grew when reports surfaced about the Parramatta Bronto’s engine failure.
“The Parramatta-based Bronto was the primary vehicle that the firefighters used to put the fire out [at the Paper Mill],” Cr Hagarty said back in March.
“The Parramatta Bronto is closest to Liverpool. With this vehicle offline and the increasing high-rises being constructed in Liverpool, I felt it was a matter of urgency that the mayor contact the State government.”
We spoke to Cr Hagarty last Friday after the $6.8 million “Bronto boost” announcement.
Cr Hagarty’s calling for the Fire & Rescue commissioner to prioritise Liverpool, particularly with the addition of the Western Sydney Airport.
“I welcome any investment from the Government in community safety. After years of protest from firefighters, the community, the opposition and councillors, the Minister has finally buckled. I call on the State Government to ensure a new appliance is housed at Liverpool.”
Opposition spokesman for justice and police Guy Zangari agreed.
“There needs to be Brontos across the network and particularly at St Andrews where this Government mothballed the Bronto,” Mr Zangari said.
“It makes places like Liverpool very vulnerable, particularly when we have a construction boom throughout the south-west. Paul Lynch and I are very concerned. You’ve got a situation where the nearest for Liverpool is Parramatta and it’s one that was brought up from Victoria and it’s an old one. The Melbourne fire brigade’s Bronto at Parramatta is a joke.
“It should put community safety before stadiums. It’s not putting money into areas that protect the community. In the Wollongong shipping fire there were problems because there weren’t enough Brontos.
He said it will take two years for new Brontos to arrive.
“These specialist appliances take two years from when you order.”
A follow up story with the deputy commissioner’s responses to our questions will be published shortly.
- Story updated Thursday, July 12, 9.07am. The Journalist requested an interview with the commissioner and sent questions but was advised of his unavailability. An interview with the deputy commissioner was offered instead. Therefore, the request not declined.