LEVY REJECTS: Bondoola Rural Fire Brigade chairman George Seifert, treasurer Alf Young and fire warden Ray Murphy express their anger after losing funding.
LEVY REJECTS: Bondoola Rural Fire Brigade chairman George Seifert, treasurer Alf Young and fire warden Ray Murphy express their anger after losing funding. Allan Reinikka

Bureaucrats cop heat from firies

AFTER 10 days straight fighting fires in the Mount Archer National Park, rural fire warden Ray Murphy has a question for the bureaucrats who rejected Bondoola Rural Fire Brigade's $25 levy.

“What do you think your pettiness has done to the morale of firefighters like me?”

Ray, one of the founders of the Bondoola brigade in the 1970s, says members like him are seething at the attitude of officials who have cut off the group's funding.

“I've not known anything as insulting as this in more than 30 years,” said Ray. “We're trying to hold morale together and the response to the bushfires has been brilliant, but this really hurts.”

And Bondoola's chairman, George Seifert, says he's disgusted at the interference.

“We are appealing against the decision. It's a big mess. I don't think this is about the money, because the sums are so small. It's about control.”

He said the group, which has about 30 active firefighting members, sought to raise $6650 from Bondoola's 264 ratepayers to pay for annual running costs.

“We also like to put $2000 each year to one side to fund depreciation in our trucks and equipment. Without the funding we are having to dip into our savings.”

Bondoola is the second rural brigade this week to express its outrage that its annual fundraising levy had been rejected. Keppel Sands brigade member Cr Brett Svendsen launched an attack on bureaucrats in yesterday's edition and called for heads to roll.

Member for Keppel Paul Hoolihan yesterday pledged to fight to restore all funding to the volunteers.

He said he spoke to the Emergency Services Minister yesterday and was assured none of the rural brigades would be financially disadvantaged.

“They are looking at ways to resolve the issue. The rural firefighters should not have to suffer like this and should not have had their levy requests rejected,” he said.



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