Bold 10-point plan promise to boost region’s fire response
The ANNOUNCEMENT was made on the Cowie Farm, in the foreground of charred ranges as if to prove a point.
The announcement; an upgraded rural fire fighting fleet and a 10-point prevention plan under a LNP Queensland government should it be given power in October.
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington and Keppel candidate Adrian De Groot visited a Bungundurra property this morning to share the details.
What was promised was six new Landcruiser trucks and $70,000 towards extra equipment between the brigades in the Keppel electorate.
Ms Frecklington hoped it would be a welcome change to the current model which results in some rural fireys using their own vehicles.
Local Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland representative Robert Lang welcomed any investment and said some rural brigades were crying out for the support.
One of those was the Ogmore Brigade which he said was desperately lacking.
“These people up here don’t have a radio, they don’t have a flashing light, and they’re expected to attend to incidents on the Bruce Highway,” he said.
He said they were at the stage where they refuse to go out due to their own personal safety.
Mr Lang said he would welcome any boost at all to the services.
As a director of the Capricorn Rescue Helicopter Service, Mr De Groot also agreed more equipment would make a huge difference in times of crisis.
“You’ve got to have the right tools to do the job,” he said.
Along with the improvements to the Keppel fleet, the LNP also launched a 10-point plan to target fire management and prevention.
The LNP’s 10-point plan:
1. One-stop-shop for streamlined approval process: The LNP will establish a single point of contact for all landholders (local, state and federal) to answer and enable bushfire mitigation inquiries, as recommended by the 2018 IGEM report.
2. Deemed approval after 15 business days under a “right to burn” model: Properly made applications will be automatically approved after 15 business days to give landholders and councils certainty. This will stop permits getting lost in bureaucratic process and restore accountability and bring certainty to landholders and allow government to scale up or down resources to respond to demands for permits.
3. New KPIs to achieve 98 per cent of hazard reduction activities: There are currently no KPIs holding government departments to account on hazard reduction burns, the creation of firebreaks and community education. Between 2016 and 2019, Only 54 per cent of hazard reduction burns planned have been completed. There’s also been a 30 per cent reduction in completed overall hazard reduction activities.
4. Indigenous rangers to undertake traditional burning: The LNP will trial a traditional burning program run by indigenous rangers. The program won’t replace Rural Fire Brigades’ role in managing and coordinating hazard reduction burns. It will compliment pre-existing efforts by combining traditional and modern burning practices. Blending cultural and modern burning techniques has proven successful and should be expanded.
5. Establish a Natural Disaster Cabinet Committee to monitor preparations: The group will be chaired by the Emergency Services Minister and QFES Commissioner. It will monitor the progress of state departments and landholders conducting hazard reduction activities.
6. Monitored grazing in state forests, some national parks to manage fuel loads:
The 2018 IGEM report cited grazing as a measure used in conjunction with a suite of hazard
reduction measures. Grazing will be monitored to protect the environment but also manage
7. Establish metropolitan-based Rural Fire Volunteer brigades: Just like in Sydney and Melbourne where brigades exist that are operated by volunteer firefighters that can be called on during extreme bushfire events to surge capacity, a similar model should be investigated in Queensland to make use of the large number of SEQ based volunteers.
8. Restore local control to Rural Fire brigades: This will restore recent management structure changes that pushed local fire brigades under the reporting authority of regional urban fire groups.
9. Establish a Rural Fire Board: The Rural Fire Board will be made up of respected rural fire brigade members from across Queensland as well as members appointed by the Government. Future policy direction or matters that affect brigades and volunteers would need to be accepted or made workable by this representative board.
10. Review of aerial firefighting capability: A review and stock take of aviation fire assets in Queensland to ensure the state’s capacity will accommodate future increased fire risks.