Rural firies could face further cuts
RURAL firefighter staff cuts will not affect their ability to combat this bushfire season but the Queensland Government will not rule out "corporate and back-of-house" job cuts after March.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney on Monday was quick to defend moves to make cuts within Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, arguing they simply wanted fewer bureaucrats so they had more money for trucks and other equipment.
"This government is determined to make sure our rural firefighters have every opportunity to face what is shaping up to be a rough fire season," he said.
"What we've done with rural fires is exactly what we're doing across government.
"We're ensuring the resources we allocate are available to the people who deliver the services.
"Asking those questions make some of those bureaucrats uncomfortable.
"I think what we've seen this morning is a bit of a campaign that suggests that without their particular service, their capacity to deal with the fire season will be lessened."
The comments come after an "insider" told Brisbane media (the Courier-Mail) there had meetings about redundancies and such cuts would affect volunteers who "can't look after themselves".
Police and Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey said there would be no cuts until the current bushfire season ends in March but there would then be moves towards "empowering local volunteers and empowering local communities".
He did not provide details of what that meant but said he wanted to ensure frontline officers are not "lumbered with bureaucracy and red tape just to get on and do their job".
Mr Dempsey said some of the bureaucratic staff in the firing line could be those brought in from funding for climate change initiatives.
"What does climate change have to do in relation to equipment and other areas within the emergency services?" he said.
Mr Seeney said no decisions had been made but the government was assessing if positions were contributing to outcomes on the ground and service delivery.
"In a lot of instances the answer to that is not necessarily yes," he said.
"We've undertaken not to make any changes until after the current fire season so there is not a period of undue uncertainty until we can do this in a measured balanced way."