Rockhampton firies assured

FOUR rural fire brigades in the Rockhampton region that had their annual levies controversially rejected have been assured their running costs this year will be paid.

But George Seifert, chairman of the Bondoola brigade, said yesterday the volunteers battling one of the worst bushfire seasons on record would still be worse off.

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed that the four – Bondoola, Emu Park, Woodbury and Cooberrie – will have their operational bills paid if they require assistance.

A spokesman for the service said it was also working with the brigades to ensure all necessary information was complete so they would not miss the next levy deadline.

Mr Seifert said brigade members were still angry and upset by the way they had been treated and claimed bureaucrats in the system treated the volunteers like slaves.

“They have at least promised to reimburse us for our costs, but we haven’t received a cent yet even though we have billed them for our operational costs.”

That bill is likely to run into thousands of dollars. Bondoola members worked tirelessly during the bushfires that threatened homes near Rockhampton and Cawarral in October, and have recently been called to assist with firefighting in Dysart and Agnes Water.

Mr Seifert said Bondoola volunteers had put in about 2000 man hours this year.

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