Tuesday 25 August, 2020
Revelations that Queensland’s once-proud State Emergency Service (SES) is haemorrhaging volunteers* under the Palaszczuk Labor Government is sounding alarm bells in Far North Queensland as the state enters the cyclone, storm and bushfire season.
Almost 1000 volunteers have quit the SES under Labor, while Rural Fire Brigades have had their budget slashed by 38 per cent over the last two years** and the future of both Volunteer Marine Rescue and Coast Guard are in question after the Blue Water Review was put on ice***.
LNP Shadow Minister for Fire, Emergency Services and Volunteers Lachlan Millar, who was joined by the LNP’s Cairns state team, said that volunteers in the Far North had been failed by the Palaszczuk Labor Government.
“It is extremely disappointing the Labor Minister is failing to fulfil his ministerial responsibilities as well as failing the Far North Queensland communities he’s supposed to represent,” Mr Millar said.
“Far North Queensland volunteers feel betrayed that Labor is using its decision to cancel the State Budget to impose spending cuts by stealth.”
LNP candidate for Cairns Sam Marino said it was completely unacceptable that Far North Queensland’s marine rescue, SES and rural fire volunteers had been abandoned.
“The fact that nearly 1000 volunteers, or 15 per cent of the entire membership, has walked from the SES under the Palaszczuk Labor Government is unforgivable,” said Mr Marino.
“Cairns relies on these SES volunteers to hold the line when nature does its worst, but they won’t be there because Labor has failed to keep them on-side.”
LNP candidate for Barron River Linda Cooper said Labor’s successive and deep cuts to local Rural Fire Brigade budgets were a devastating and demoralising blow to rural firies.
“Just a year ago these men and women were on the frontline of a horrific bushfire season – and they were giving their all for nothing,” said Ms Cooper.
LNP candidate for Mulgrave Gerry Vallianos said that marine rescue volunteers in Coast Guard and Volunteer Marine Rescue in the Far North were frustrated that the Palaszczuk Labor Government had refused to provide their organisations with the financial certainty needed to keep Queenslanders safe.
“Marine rescue volunteers deserve rock-solid assurances and answers on the essential service they provide, as do Queensland boaties and recreational fishers,” Mr Vallianos said.
* Labor abandons Queensland’s SES
** Labor’s secret 38% cut to Rural Firies exposed
*** Labor leaves our marine rescue volunteers high and dry: https://www.deb2020.com.au/labor-leaves-our-marine-rescue-volunteers-high-and-dry/