That this council—
1. Acknowledges that the Bureau of Meteorology has formally declared an El Niño weather event and
that risk of a significant fire danger season is higher following an El Niño year;
2. Notes that some South Australian Country Fire Service stations are currently ill-equipped to ensure
volunteers' safety and dignity; and
3. Calls on the Malinauskas government to urgently audit current Country Fire Service facilities and
fund any identified need.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:05): I thank the members who have made a contribution today:
the Hon. Nicola Centofanti and the Hon. Clare Scriven, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional
Development, on behalf of her colleague in the other place.
I note that the Labor Party have sought to congratulate themselves on their amendment, and
I urge the council not to give them that congratulation unless they actually do what this motion calls
for, and that is an audit and appropriate funding. One would have thought that the minimum that
could have been brought forward today would have been a commitment to do that audit.
What we do know from the Greens putting this motion on the agenda is that we have now
had some response that some 90 CFS stations do not have toilet facilities but use adjacent
community facilities. We do not know how adjacent they are, and we do not know what the operations
of those arrangements are. I am informed in some cases there are toilet blocks nearby, but it seems
to be incredibly ad hoc.
Even more concerning, however, is that although the minister just alluded to the fact that this
was a historic issue stemming from receiving facilities not necessarily in 21st century conditions in
the 1990s, the 1990s is a long time ago when we are in 2023.
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I remember the Spice Girls as well, the Hon. Ian Hunter, but we
have come a long way since then.
The Hon. B.R. Hood interjecting:
The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: Nirvana as well, the Hon. Ben Hood. There are so many nineties
musical icons, however, I think we would all agree that the facilities of the 1990s are in no way the
facilities that we have come to expect in 2023. What I particularly note that has come out of this in
response to one of my questions on notice is that of the 420 stations, 345 do not have change rooms.
That, to me, seems a minor investment for the value that we would get from the diversity in our
volunteer firefighters, giving them the respect and dignity that they deserve as they put their lives on
the line—345 out of the approximate 420 stations do not have change facilities. This certainly goes a
long way to a very small investment that could be made to have a very
big impact on recruitment and retention and respect and, of course, diversity in our volunteer
firefighting service. The $12 million over the next four years quoted by the minister is actually the
normal budget allocation for the CFS towards building maintenance. I am advised by my sources
that this equates to $3 million per annum. With an anticipated cost of each CFS station to be close
to $1 million, this allows for the construction of approximately three stations per annum, which means
that a rebuild program for CFS stations in this state would take approximately 140 years to complete.
Clearly, this is far from optimal; indeed, it is possibly farcical.
It would be a responsible and mature approach—and I agree with the CFS Volunteers
Association on this—to ensure that any investment of funds into CFS building and maintenance is
done wisely with appropriate prioritisations and indeed that initial modest investment to do the audit
is the first step. I would have hoped that the government would have come to the party with that very
I thank members of this council for their support. I believe that the motion will get up
unscathed by the attempt of the government to congratulate themselves but not actually do the thing
the motion calls for. I hope we do not see this summer as one that in recent years we have come to
know as quite devastating for our state.
I congratulate those volunteer firefighters on their efforts to date and I commit that this
council, and certainly from my perspective as a member of this council, will do all we can to support
you in that extraordinarily difficult, demanding and necessary work. This will be a cruel summer
ahead. We have already seen the declaration of the fire season brought forward a couple of weeks.
We know that we rely on volunteers to keep our people, property and nature in this state safe in
I hope that by the Mid-Year Budget Review we see the Malinauskas government come to
the party with a small, modest investment, and the Minister for Emergency Services at least will have
affected, through his executive powers, an audit so that we know exactly what we are dealing with. I
do hope that we see very shortly those 345 stations that do not currently have change facilities have
change facilities installed. With that, I commend the motion and urge council members to oppose the
Amendment negatived; motion carried.