Firefighters protest at Sydney by-election

Firefighters in Sydney's south are protesting the state government's budget cuts outside the by-election in the seat of Miranda.

Unionised firefighters from Sydney's Sutherland Shire have protested station-closing budget cuts by the NSW government outside by-election voting booths in the city's south.

Flyers reading "STOP O'Farrell's fire station closures: Put the Liberals LAST" are being handed out by firefighters, who want to discourage people from voting for a party they say has reduced fire protection in the area.

The by-election, in the seat of Miranda, was sparked by the mid-term resignation of Sports Minister Graham Annesley, who quit parliament to become CEO of the NRL's Gold Coast Titans.

"Budget cuts ... over the last 10 months have meant professionally crewed fire stations in the Sutherland Shire have been closed 64 times," Fire Brigade Employees Union secretary Jim Casey said.

Miranda Fire Station has been shut on 10 occasions, Sutherland Fire Station taken off-line 26 times and Menai Fire Station closed on 28 occasions, he added.

Permanently staffed stations had never been closed before the O'Farrell government's election and subsequent $70 million cuts, Mr Casey said.

Under laws introduced by the O'Farrell government, fire stations will be forced to close if they can only be staffed by firefighters working overtime.

"We are being hamstrung by political budget cuts making it harder for us to do that important work and potentially putting lives at risk," Mr Casey said.

Source AAP

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