A former Hunter firefighter has accused Fire and Rescue NSW of being a "boys' club" after an indecent assault allegation led to female firefighters at Dungog being told to change in and out of their uniforms in a shed outside the station.
Matt Thompson says concerns about leadership and alleged incidents caused more than a third of the town's firefighters to quit last year, after a Professional Standards investigation failed to resolve the issues.
FRNSW has begun a new inquiry this week, with Mr Thompson set to meet with the agency's Executive Director People and Culture Michael Baldi in Sydney today to discuss the complaints on behalf of the five former firefighters.
These include an allegation of indecent assault, claims of incompetence, serious concerns over the station's leadership, the alleged use of intimidation and imbalance between the way male and female firefighters were treated.
All five former firefighters confirmed with the Newcastle Herald this week that they left FRNSW because of the problems at the Dungog station.
In one complaint, Mr Thompson's wife - a firefighter named Renae Thompson - alleged a FRNSW member indecently assaulted her at a Dungog pub.
After the allegation surfaced, the station's female firefighters were told to change in and out of their uniforms in a small and cluttered shed outside while the male firefighters continued to change clothes inside the station.
In a letter to Ms Thompson last August, Professional Standards director Louise Clarke said that after inquiries, "it is considered highly unlikely that further investigation would result in a finding or warrant further action" against the accused firefighter and closed the matter.
However, a Safe Work NSW letter to Ms Thompson in October found FRNSW liable - she was medically discharged this July.
Matt Thompson said there was a dominant "boys' club" mentality in FRNSW.
He told the Newcastle Herald it was upsetting that, having put himself "on the line day and night for years on end to walk into burning buildings and flooded houses, and to front-up to rescue people from mangled car wrecks, to then find that standing up for basic rights and decent norms in the workplace" resulted in him leaving the service.
"And for those at the top to ignore all this, even when more than a third of the crew leaves in disgust, is not just upsetting but flat-out unjust and wrong," he said.
When asked for comment about the various issues on Wednesday, FRNSW said it "does not comment on employee-related matters".
It said a representative was "holding a discussion with a former employee [Thursday] afternoon to better understand concerns raised about Dungog Fire Station".
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