30 May 2018
Member for Glass House, Andrew Powell, is incensed that the ongoing neglect of the Maleny Rural Fire Brigade (RFB) has now led many hardworking volunteer “firies” to consider hanging up their yellow jackets. He is calling on the State Government to deliver on their promise and build a joint Queensland Fire and Emergency Services facility on Bunya Street, NOW!
“Several years ago members of the Maleny RFB approached me, fed up with having to bump out of their premises in the Maleny Showground’s Cattle Pavilion to accommodate the Maleny Wood Expo and Maleny Show each and every year”, Mr Powell said.
“And when they do move back in they contend with the fragrant aroma left over by the cattle exhibits for weeks on end. For years I’ve been calling on the State Government to help find them a new home but was fobbed off with claims that the Department was working with Council on a solution.”
“It, therefore, came as a pleasant surprise to both the volunteer firies and I, on the eve of last year’s election, that the Government made the announcement it would build a $3 million shared facility for both the Maleny RFB and the Maleny Auxiliary service.”
However, Mr Powell is appalled that, when questioning the Fire and Emergency Services Minister in Parliament regarding the timing of construction, the response was ambiguous and dismissive.
The Forward Capital Works Program for QFES, including the Maleny and District Rural Fire Brigade and the Maleny Auxiliary Fire and Rescue complex is currently being prepared. The anticipated completion date for this project will be established once the Forward Capital Works Program for QFES is endorsed. (Source: Question on Notice No. 89 asked on 6 March 2018).
With the show season again upon Maleny, the Brigade has again been forced out of their facilities. And to make matters worse, the local council reneged on an agreement that would have seen them move equipment in to a shipping container on site, rather than having to relocate it elsewhere. It was the final straw for long-serving Brigade members, some who have served for up to 20 years, who are now considering walking away.
Senior fire fighter, Cameron Jensen, said – “Too many times in the past, there has been emergencies to deal with during the show season – including fires and floods – and due to the limited response capability, the RFB has not been able to fulfil its responsibility to its full potential”.
“As a result of the ongoing fiasco associated with our housing the level of morale within the Brigade is at an all-time low. Many of our members are disheartened and have indicated that they no longer want to volunteer. It is of great concern that it is the more experienced senior Firefighters who feel this way. They have been involved for so many years and invested so much blood, sweat and tears and feel there are no longer any options.
“If this occurs, then Maleny RFB will not be able to respond to emergencies, and essentially no longer exist as a functioning Brigade. Not one of us wants to leave and let down our community, friends or the service but there is only so much that we can be subjected to and we are feeling defeated,” Mr Jensen said.
“Maleny and the surrounding district can’t afford to lose volunteer firefighters with this much experience, and the Brigade shouldn’t have to endure another situation like this next year. Enough is enough – there is a commitment to build a new facility. I call on the Government to get on and build it!” Mr Powell concluded.
[ENDS] 30 May 2018