A clash of cultures has led to the break-up of the super department covering police and emergency services in New South Wales.
The department was created under the previous premier Nathan Rees as part of a shake-up of the public sector.
But it was vigorously opposed by the Rural Fire Service Association who feared the agency’s independence and funding would be compromised.
The Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan says he has listened to the concerns of frontline volunteer organisations.
“It’s a decision which was taken at the time with all good intentions,” he said.
“But over a few months it’s become clear that these agencies have different cultures and that it’s better for them to work separately.”
Staff from the super department will now be re-deployed back to their respective agencies.
Mr Whan says the different agencies can still work together on certain things.
“We can still have cooperation between the departments on things like their computer dispatch systems,” he said.
The opposition’s emergency services spokeswoman Melinda Pavey says it’s a humiliating backdown for Mr Whan.
“This plan was a mistake from the very beginning,” she said.
“It’s taken Steve Whan too long to recognise that.”
She said that although the government assured the RFS that it would be outside the superstructure, it’s taken months for the State Emergency Service (SES) to get the same guarantee.
The Rural Fire Service Association has welcomed the scrapping of the department.
In a statement its president Brian McKinlay offered Mr Whan “thanks and congratulations for this excellent result.”