A Private Member’s Bill before NSW Parliament will remove a cost burden on Central Coast Council if it gets support.
Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has addressed parliament on the bill which seeks to amend a 1997 Act of Parliament that made local councils owners of the assets held by the NSW Rural Fire Service.
At the time, most councils were actively involved with supporting volunteer rural fire services but these days, councils have no say in RFS matters.
“Despite the fact that today’s Rural Fire Service is a world‑leading professional organisation with many paid staff who procure, control and operate the firefighting equipment and solely decide when to dispose of or transfer those assets, this provision still buried within the Act states that the local council legally owns those assets,” Mr Marshall said.
The object of the Bill is to amend the Rural Fires Act 1997 to vest in the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service fire fighting equipment purchased or constructed wholly or partly from money to the credit of the New South Wales Rural Fire Fighting Fund.
Adam Marshall spoke in State Parliament to his bill on September 14.
It is expected to be debated in coming weeks.
Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW State Emergency Service, VRA Rescue NSW, NSW Police Force and NSW Ambulance – all critical frontline emergency services in the State have their assets vested in the State Government, except the Rural Fire Service.
Under the current Act, Councils have to account for all the fire service assets and then allocate depreciation costs against them.
The change to the Act would free up council funds.