03 May 2024

Norfolk Island Regional Council (Council) has moved to allay claims that efforts to reduce costs across Council may result in a failure to attend emergencies or could affect tourism on Norfolk Island.

Norfolk Island firefighters have been informed that greater scrutiny will be applied to overtime hours, particularly where these tasks can be performed during normal work hours.

However, it has been made clear that any emergencies will still be responded to as soon as an alarm is raised regardless of when they occur, as has always been the case.

This includes for any dire emergency, including house or building fires, car accidents, hazardous material spills or other life-threatening incidents which firefighters may need to respond to.

Council has been concerned by the very high level of overtime being worked by our firefighters, not just because of the cost, but because of the potential for fatigue due to excessive hours worked.

Council has assured the community that the decision will not affect tourism or revenue in any way, as proper aviation notification processes have been followed, with commercial operators continuing to utilise the airport. This has also been the case with recent industrial action taken by Norfolk Island firefighters to not be present during the landing of passenger planes, which is expected to continue.

The above measures are being implemented, as Council is managing a reduced cash flow across its revenue streams due in part to an increase in unpaid rates, charges, and fees. As such, overtime is now being managed across all business units of Council.

To reinforce, Council wants to reassure the community that this management decision does not affect emergency responses or call-outs.