Dempsey sparks debate after questioning firies priorities

IN PROGRESS: Building works are continuing at the Gladstone Fire Station.
IN PROGRESS: Building works are continuing at the Gladstone Fire Station. Mike Richards

GLADSTONE MP Liz Cunningham has raised concerns about procedures around asbestos removal at Gladstone Fire Station.

While Queensland's emergency services minister has given Gladstone Fire Station's renovations a tick of approval he has angered the union over his criticism of it.

Works on the station are currently dormant while a new roof is being constructed for the 38-year-old building, but firefighters will be moved out again for about three weeks in January while works continue.

Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey said there was no risk of asbestos exposure to the firefighters, with the contractor providing daily clearance certificates to ensure works are at standard.

"I have been reassured about this by the contractors who are doing a number of renovations on that station to make the facilities better for our hardworking firefighters," he said.

But the minister then went on to say the union needed to represent its members properly.

"They look after their own selfish interests in their constant attacks and lack of negotiation for their members," he said.

UFUQ Gladstone branch president Clint Adrian said the response was a kick in the backside for those who were volunteers and permanent firefighters as well.

"I don't think the minister's got an idea of what a family the fire service is," he said.

"We don't just rock up to collect the pay check - we do it for the community."

He said Queensland Fire and Emergency Services management and the union were working closely to ensure a safe and effective work environment during the construction phase.

Topics:  asbestos emergency services gladstone fire station jack dempsey liz cunnigham

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