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A NSW Government parliamentary inquiry into the effectiveness of NSW RFS asset management and operations will look into the service arrangements between the RFS and local councils. Image: contributed

Rural Fire Service assets and operations inquiry

Rodney Stevens


The state government has launched an inquiry into the NSW Rural Fire Service and tasked the Public Accounts Committee to look into the effectiveness of the RFS’s asset management and operations, with submissions from the public welcome.

The Parliamentary Committee will examine the arrangements for the assets, premises and funding of the NSW RFS including their Red Fleet of fire trucks and appliances, firefighting aircraft and equipment, buildings and control centres, and information systems and communications equipment the RFS uses.

A key area of interest for the inquiry is how the NSW RFS and local councils share responsibilities for bushfire management and hazard reduction.

The Terms of Reference show the inquiry will also examine whether current arrangements between council and the RFS are suitable regarding service agreements, the responsibilities for bushfire management and hazard reduction, the upkeep of assets, the provision of insurance, the provision of land and construction management for RFS premises and bushfire management committees.

As the lead combat agency in regional and rural areas, the NSW RFS is responsible for the provision of rural fire services including the prevention, mitigation, and suppression of fires in rural areas.

The NSW RFS works closely with local councils, who have fire prevention responsibilities within their local government area and in which the RFS brigades operate.

The six-person committee of Legislative Assembly members will be chaired by MP Jason Li, with Deputy Chair Clayton Barr, and members Jenny Leong, Michael Regan, Anthony Roberts, and David Saliba.

The committee will consider service arrangements between the NSW RFS and local councils, the appropriate role of local authorities in providing emergency services and the sustainability of local government contributions to emergency service provisions.

Committee Chair MP Jason Li said the inquiry will look into the current arrangements between the NSW RFS and councils.

“We understand that many firefighting assets are ‘vested’ with councils to operate and maintain,” he said.

“This inquiry will be looking at the current arrangements between the NSW RFS and councils and whether they are effective and fit for purpose.

“The Committee wants to hear from people with first-hand experience, emergency service organisations and their volunteer associations and unions, local councils, bushfire experts, community groups and the public.”

Submissions to the inquiry close on May 10, 2024.

For more information on the inquiry, including the Terms of Reference and how to make a submission visit