Open Letter to Minister Ryan
Monday, 8 Mar 2021
05 March 2021
Hon Mark Ryan MP
Member for Morayfield
PO Box 991
MORAYFIELD QLD 4506
Open letter to Mark Ryan, Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
In Parliamentary Estimates on Monday the 14th December 2020 you called for a review into the QFES.
Minister Ryan - Today I can announce a planned review into the structure of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to determine whether the current structure best suits the needs of a post-COVID-19 world and the needs of Queensland communities in an ever-changing environment where disasters on a global scale are increasing in frequency and intensity.
The aim of this review is to determine what works, what does not and what can work better. It is in the best interests of safety and in the best interests of Queenslanders to do so.
The RFBAQ submits that the fire services, whether they be called QFES, QFRS, QFRA or QFS, have undergone a multitude of reviews, insights, restructures and internal naval gazing over the last 30 years and all that exists as proof of the millions of dollars spent is a drop in frontline service provision at the expense of an ever increasing fire bureaucracy.
The RFBAQ believes that the current department, QFES, is the latest in a long line of departments that have continuously grown at the expense of service provision to the communities across Queensland.
Rural Fire Brigades were created by the community due to community needs. These brigades existed and flourished before the creation of the centralised fire department and these communities are now becoming increasingly exposed due to the lack of appropriate equipment, training and support provided by the department.
The total QFES income is estimated to be $858.5 million this financial year, which is the largest budget the department has ever had to manage.
Rural Fire, (brigades, brigade members and RFSQ staff) comprise the largest service in the department with over 31,000 brigade members in 1,400 brigades and yet receives 5.48% of the QFES budget.
Minister, we ask that you do not launch another review into the QFES that will be administered by QFES for the benefit of QFES, but seek a new model that returns the two fire services back to what they were established for initially, to get well trained and equipped people mobilised as soon as possible to make communities safer.
To put this in context, the Country Fire Service (CFS) in South Australia (SA) has 13,509 brigade members and their 2020/21 Budget is $83.988 million.
On the back of two enormous fire season other states and territories have hugely increased the amount of trucks available to the brigades, yet in Queensland the supply of new trucks has almost stopped.
In our meeting with you on Tuesday 15th December 2020, which was the day following you review announcement, we provided you with a copy of our preferred model that would give the power back to the brigades and brigade members.
This is the same model that we supplied to The Premier on the 3rd of August 2020.
The RFBAQ look forward to working with you and your ministerial staff in developing a structure that will meet community needs.
Regards, Ian Pike
Rural Fire Brigades Association Qld