NSW Labor has committed $530,000 for building a new station for the Kayuga Rural Fire Brigade.
Upper Hunter Labor candidate Jeff Drayton said he was appalled at the facilities the brigade was currently operating in – a small demountable building with no toilets or water for filling the fire trucks.
Trucks are stored in a volunteer firefighters’ shed and water supplied at members’ own expense.
“Our volunteer firefighters make an incredible commitment to our community. The Kayuga Brigade shouldn’t be operating in such poor conditions with volunteers having to store and fill trucks at their own expense,” said Mr Drayton.
“Fire poses a real threat to life and property in this region. The Kayuga Brigade protects communities in Muswellbrook Shire and is critical to the Hunter Valley’s firefighting capability.”
Visiting the crew as they trained last night, Mr Drayton was also shocked to hear about the NSW Government’s lack of support for the Brigade, with volunteers waiting eight months for uniforms and their fire trucks being over 15 years old and not having adequate safety equipment.
When provided a ‘new’ truck, the Kayuga Rural Fire Brigade were disheartened to discover it was a second-hand one from Sydney, barely in working condition.
“This just another example of our communities being neglected and not getting their fair share,” said Mr Drayton.
We send so much money to Sydney, yet this volunteer fire fighting service has to fight tooth and nail for every cent. It is just not good enough.
“I am looking forward to delivering on this commitment and seeing our Kayuga Rural Fire Brigade get the new station they deserve.”
Muswellbrook Shire Council has agreed to provide land for the new station.
Labor’s commitment would fund the construction of a fire shed to house two rural fire fighting vehicles, with on-site toilets and showers, kitchenette, rainwater storage, and solar power.
Kayuga Rural Fire Brigade Senior Deputy Captain Jayden Hollis said the local crew was very active and dedicated, but the poor facilities were demoralising – especially after the extreme fire season of 2019/2020.
“It has been a long-term goal of ours to secure our own station in line with many other rural fire brigades.
“We have seven female crewmembers and I especially feel for them, with the lack of toilet facilities. In this day and age, it’s a disgrace.
“All of our crew is stoked with this commitment from Jeff.”