Public Service Association (PSA) Assistant General Secretary Troy Wright says he can “categorically state” that the NSW Government cut the number of park rangers who carry out hazard reduction burns in the lead up to the fire tragedy which took hold of the state this week. A public feud erupted this week between the PSA and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro after he said the department’s failure to perform proper hazard reduction burns contributed to the bushfire tragedy. The PSA’s Troy Wright accused Mr Barilaro of hypocrisy, claiming the state government slashed the number of park rangers from 289 in 2011 to 201 this year, therefore inhibiting their ability to perform the job to the same standard. “There are two reasons why hazard reduction doesn’t occur sufficiently in national parks; one is the weather and conditions which are beyond the government’s control, and the second is resourcing and we have been raising this with them for years,” he said. Mr Wright claimed the state government cut the National Parks and Wildlife service budget by $121 million in 2017-18. “There are significantly less resources in the National Parks and Wildlife service and as a result there’s significantly less hazard reduction activity,” he said.