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RFSA urges government to improve road safety for emergency workers

Monday, 13 November 2017

 The NSW Rural Fire Service Association is urging the NSW Government to come to the table and work with them to improve road safety for emergency service workers.


RFSA President Ken Middleton said the RFSA is urgently seeking a meeting with Roads Minister, Melinda Pavey as it may only be a matter of time until a fatality occurrs. 


“Our volunteers give their time to protect people and property across the state,” Mr Middleton said. “What we are hearing from our members is extremely worrying and we need to sit down with Minister Pavey and work through our proposal to improve safety for them.


“Every day they work on our roads – putting out fires or helping to free people from motor vehicle accidents. Too often they are coming under extreme threat from passing motorists.


“Our volunteers – and every emergency service worker in New South Wales – face enough risks every day and shouldn’t have to worry about being hit by a passing vehicle.


“That’s why we have been campaigning for the introduction of a 40 kilometre an hour zone to be in place when drivers pass an emergency incident. Reduced speed limit zones around emergency incidents are already in place across a number of states.


The RFSA has been requesting a meeting opportunity with the Minister for Roads, but to date a meeting has not yet been confirmed.


“Our campaign has united opposite sides of politics, with both Christian Democratic Party MLC Paul Green and Greens MLC David Shoebridge giving in-principle support for the law.


“I’m urging the government to recognise how serious this issue is and act to ensure the safety of the state’s emergency services personnel.


“I have already written to the state’s 128 local councils to inform them of the great risk being faced by volunteers in their areas and the need for urgent action.


“My greatest fear is that it may only be a matter of time before someone is fatally injured. This situation can’t continue – we must protect the people who risk their lives, to protect the community!


“The RFSA is the peak body representing the state’s 74,000 Rural Fire Service members. They’ve told us this is of critical importance and we’ll continue to pursue it on their behalf until something is done."