Budget cuts blamed for delayed response to major fuel leak

BUDGET cuts could have cost lives on Friday had firefighters not been able to contain a major fuel leak at Sydney's Port Botany, union chiefs have warned.

The Botany Fire Station had just been closed when 130,000 litres of volatile unleaded fuel spilled across a nearby Caltex Terminal early Friday morning.

While crews from the Campsie station travelled about 15kms to the site and stopped the spill, Fire Brigade Employees Union secretary Jim Casey said the emergency could have easily had deadly consequences.

He said that as recently as last week, the City of Botany Council had moved a motion calling on the State Government to reverse the temporary closure of the station in the interest of public safety.

It's not the first time budget cuts have been blamed for a delayed emergency response.

Earlier this year, a caught alight about 500m from the closed Maroubra Fire Station and crews from Sutherland were called in to put out the blaze.