Man sacked for fighting bushfires
Many have rushed to the aid of family and friends, dropping everything to fight the bushfires raging on the Mid North Coast of NSW.
But for council worker Beau Carroll, it cost him his job.
Mr Carroll, a labour hire worker at the City of Newcastle, claims council sacked him because he was absent from work while defending his parents' home in the bushfire-ravaged town of Bobin.
Mr Carroll spent Monday through Wednesday with his father and a family friend, fighting off flames on his family's property. By Thursday, his employer - agency Forsythes Recruitment - texted him to say he "won't be required for the rest of the week." But when Mr Carroll touched base with the agency by phone, he was told the council had terminated his contract.
"I think it's a low act to get rid of someone under these circumstances," he told ABC.
The reason they gave for dismissal, Mr Carroll claimed, was his previous issues with tardiness.
"I was always punctual. I was not late, ever, I had not received any disciplinary warnings. They basically sacked me because I hadn't turned up that week," Mr Carroll told the Newcastle Herald.
Since going public with his story, a Newcastle Council spokesman has rejected Mr Carroll's claims.
"City of Newcastle rejects Mr Carroll's suggestion that his short-term contract ended due to him fighting bushfires," he told the Newcastle Herald.
"City of Newcastle offers its permanent staff up to five days additional paid leave annually if they participate in volunteer work during a natural disaster. This includes cases of approved leave for staff during the recent bushfires that Mr Carroll was involved in."
Mr Carroll's family home was located in Bobin, one of the worst hit towns along the NSW mid-north coast.
NSW bushfires remain at the lowest alert level after rain fell on some fire grounds overnight, while air quality is hazardous in parts of the state.
"We won't see the smoke really go out of Sydney until we see a significant system move in with a change in the wind," Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Abrar Shabren told AAP.
Low/Moderate and High fire dangers for NSW today. Easing conditions will allow firefighters to identify and strengthen containment lines as well as identify new ignitions from yesterday's storms. #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/psHhmPXGCN— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) November 23, 2019
Queensland's bushfire emergency declaration has also been lifted from all parts of the state, following two weeks of ferocious fire conditions and the loss of 20 homes.
The declaration was imposed on November 9 as firefighters battled more than 50 bushfires and thousands of people were evacuated from the path of an out of control blaze on the Sunshine Coast.
"Over the last few weeks, our state has been in the grips of some very severe and challenging fire weather," Queensland Fire and Emergency Services acting commissioner Mike Wassing said in a statement.
"While conditions have eased slightly, and the bushfire danger has fallen … (allowing the declaration to be lifted), we still have significant blazes that continue to burn."
On Saturday, 58 fires continue to burn across the state, however, none are at emergency levels.
Despite this, authorities have reintroduced local fire bans across the southern half of the state.
🚨STATE OF FIRE EMERGENCY REVOKED🚨— Qld Fire & Emergency (@QldFES) November 23, 2019
The State of Fire Emergency Declaration has been revoked HOWEVER local fire bans have been re-introduced in areas previously covered by the declaration.