Fireys slam parade as ‘PR stunt’
A plan to hold a tickertape parade in Brisbane to honour heroic fireys in the wake of the bushfires crisis that's gripped Australia has been met with swift backlash.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner yesterday announced an event to honour 700 firefighters, volunteers and other personnel with a celebration in the Queensland capital next month.
At the end of the parade, to run through the CBD centre to King George Square, one firey would to be handed the keys to the city, Cr Schrinner said.
"This is an opportunity for Brisbane residents to recognise and publicly thank our courageous firefighters, defence force, emergency services and wildlife carers for their incredible efforts," Cr Schrinner told The Courier-Mail newspaper.
"We have volunteer firefighters, some of whom who have dropped everything and left families and jobs behind to fight these fires interstate and across the southeast in the past few months.
"There are hundreds of other unsung heroes, including the SES, defence services, wildlife rescue groups and carers who have given their time and the expertise to the assist in the aftermath of one of this country's worst natural disasters."
But the plan has been shot down by firefighters, with some describing it as a "publicity stunt".
The parade would come just weeks before Brisbane City Council elections, with polling indicating the Liberal administration and Cr Schrinner face a tough battle.
The United Firefighters Union described it as a "waste of money" that misses the mark.
"I don't think professional firefighters would like to be ticketed around at some sort of parade, it goes against the grain of what they do," UFU Queensland secretary John Oliver told the newspaper.
"They don't like the fuss. We'd rather see the money spent on preventive outcomes like upgrading water hydrants and other equipment rather than see taxpayer's money wasted on a parade."
The Courier-Mail spoke to firefighters from the state's southeast who were equally unimpressed with the "publicity stunt".
"We didn't fight any f***ing fires - all we did was drive along the side of the road and put out spot fires," one said. "It's a lot of f***ing bulls**t. It's a publicity stunt."
Hundreds of Queensland-based fireys travelled interstate to help their counterparts in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia over recent weeks.
In a statement, Cr Schrinner said Brisbane loicals were "right behind this civic parade to honour all the quiet heroes" involved in the bushfires crisis.
"It's disappointing for everyone that this comment has been made, but it's not surprising that a union would say that," he said
"It's an insult to every one of the volunteers to have their amazing deeds and actions demeaned in such a mean-spirited way.
:Thankfully the general public have welcomed the opportunity to say thank you with open arms and given the feedback and enquires we are getting, we are expecting thousands of grateful residents to turn out, look our volunteers and paid firefighters and defence force in the eyes as the make their way through the CBD of Brisbane."
The Lord Mayor called on Sydney and Melbourne to hold similar parades to honour bushfire heroes.
It's not just fireys who are set to be honoured, with wildlife volunteers who've worked around the clock to save and rehabilitate animals also invited.