Source: Quest Newspapers
THE Newman Government is targeting the handful of paid staff who look after the state’s 35,000 rural fire volunteers for job cuts.
It is also yet to come up with a promised plan to extend funding for about a dozen bushfire mitigation and education officers created by the Bligh government after Victoria’s royal commission into that state’s fires of 2009.
Of the 20 or so civilian staff who deal with the training, marketing, promotional and legal needs of volunteers, none is designated “frontline” staff. That means they have no protection from job cuts under the definitions being used by the new administration.
An insider told The Courier-Mail several meetings had been held in recent weeks where a “human resources woman” had addressed staff to talk about redundancies.
“A woman from Government came in and talked about voluntary redundancy,” the insider said. “We’ve all been told to look for other jobs.
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Recommended CoverageLESS than two years ago, Queensland’s wettest summer in decades cruelly exposed gaping holes in the state’s preparations for dealing with floods.QUEENSLAND is facing its first dangerous bushfire season in years and the state’s firefighters claim they are under-resourced.
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“She was telling us how much more work we were going to have to do if the person next to us took a redundancy.
“There were a couple of meetings last week.
“Morale in there is terrible. It will filter down, I think.
“The volunteers don’t know what’s happening. Who will then look after the volunteers? They can’t look after themselves.”
The Bligh government recruited about 15 full-time mitigation and education officers in Queensland as part of a response to the findings of the royal commission into the Black Saturday 2009 Victorian fires.
In April, Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey extended their funding for six months and promised to look for a long-term funding solution.
Minister Dempsey said on Friday he wanted to “empower” rural firies but did not provide details.
“In the Budget to be revealed on September 11, the Government will be announcing significant funding on new firefighting infrastructure,” he said.
“As for other measures, such as staffing levels, these are still being finalised and will be revealed in the Budget.”
He said he had asked the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service to find ways to “divert funding from office and management functions and back into frontline services”.
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