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Minister meddles while the regions burn

Tony Piccolo, the besieged Emergency Services Minister, has taken the unprecedented step of interfering in MFS and CFS operations.

In breach of long standing ministerial convention that Ministers do not involve themselves in operational decisions, Minister Piccolo has directed two MFS appliances to be taken from Pt Augusta and Renmark and placed in a CFS station at Mt Barker.


Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Duncan McFetridge said today that now both regions no longer have fully working spare appliances.


“This puts Pt Augusta, Whyalla, Pt Pirie, Wallaroo, Kadina, Moonta and Peterborough without a regional spare appliance and also Renmark, Berri and Loxton without a spare appliance,” said Dr McFetridge.


“The closest spares are now hundreds of kilometres away in Adelaide.


“To compound the issue the old 1988 replacement being sent to the Riverland had been decommissioned and firefighters are using mobile phones in place of radios.


“MFS firefighters are rightly angry these regions are now at increased risk.


“Ministers never, never interfere in operational matters, but not Minister Piccolo.


“No wonder the CFS and SES volunteers and Public Service Association have no confidence in Minister Piccolo.

“How many slap downs will it take before Premier Jay Weatherill removes this Minister?” asked Dr McFetridge.