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Firefighting associations call for federal royal commission into deadly bushfire crisis

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Firefighting associations across Australia are calling for a federal royal commission into the deadly bushfire crisis currently gripping Australia.

Association secretaries from NSW, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia have called for urgent action which crosses state lines and provides more resources across the board.

“There has been a complete failure federally to coordinate activity across various jurisdictions,” Stewart Little, General Secretary of Public Service Association of NSW, said today.

State Secretary of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union in NSW, Leighton Drury, said they “have grave concerns about the resourcing and budgets”.

“Lives have been lost, and fires are going on for months. As we’ve seen with these fires if they’re not controlled early, they can span hundreds of kilometres,” Mick Holton, President of NSW Volunteer Fire Fighters Association added.

“We need to look at the fires as we are, even if they’re put out tomorrow the next fire season is in nine months’ time.”

State Secretaries of United Firefighters’ Union of Western Australia and South Australia, Lea Anderson and Max Adlam, agreed their states also needed more resources.

“We need a different way of thinking,” Ms Adlam said.

Mr Drury said one of the main issues facing firefighters on the ground relate to “inter-operability”.

“Even the way we locate trucks are different,” he said, adding, “different radio systems, different command structures” make things even harder during crises.

There were also concerns raised over cuts to jobs in the National Parks department, which has now seen experts with years of localised experience forced to volunteer as firefighters instead.

So far this bushfire season close to six million hectares of land has been destroyed.

Thousands of homes have been lost, and 25 people have died.

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