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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 3577

Mr MELHAM ( Banks ) ( 09:46 ): On 6 April I met up with the New South Wales opposition leader, John Robertson, at Revesby Fire Station in the electorate of Banks. That day the fire station was closed. On 26 April I noticed that the fire station was also closed and posted a photo of the sign on my Facebook page. What is interesting is that the photo had the largest number of hits of any posted. This indicates to me that the decisions of the O'Farrell government in relation to staffing are of vital importance to many people. The New South Wales government is closing down fire stations and not replacing firefighters who are sick or on leave. In fact, Revesby joins Riverwood and Mortdale fire stations, also in my electorate, with other fire stations that have been closed arbitrarily. If a house is burning and the fire truck takes 30 minutes to arrive instead of 10 because the nearby station is shut, it may mean the difference between life and death. This is totally unacceptable to my community and to the broader community of New South Wales.

Cuts have also been made to the Rural Fire Service. In late 2012 it was revealed the O'Farrell government planned to slash $12 million from employee expenses at the RFS and cut 120 jobs. These cuts come on top of $64 million cut from the New South Wales Fire Brigade, forcing local fire stations to temporarily close their doors when firefighters call in sick. These cuts to firefighters come on top of 3,600 jobs to go from hospitals and ambulance stations 2,400 jobs cut from schools and TAFE colleges and almost 1,000 job cuts in community services. This is in addition to job cuts at Sydney Water, Roads and Maritime Services, Office of Environment and Heritage, Forests NSW, RailCorp and in many other government departments further job losses are anticipated.

Since the O'Farrell government came to office in March 2011, there are 19,873 more unemployed people in New South Wales. This is what the future holds for the Australian people if an Abbott government is elected. This is in stark contrast to the record of the Labor federal government, which has created in excess of 950,000 jobs. These are 950,000 jobs created in spite of the Queensland government, the New South Wales government and the Victorian government shedding jobs. If you have got a job you can send your kids to school, you can pay a mortgage, you can pay your hospital fees. Jobs are more important than any other matter in the community. Without a job, you crush families' hopes. That is what an Abbott government will do if it is elected. People are insecure because of that.