Gladstone firefighters campaign over what they say are inadequate staffing levels.
Gladstone firefighters campaign over what they say are inadequate staffing levels. Brenda Strong

Firies fire up over resources

ASIDE from being a highly volatile area, Gladstone is also a rapidly expanding city.

The question is whether our emergency services, as they are, are able to properly cater for this changing environment.

If not, what is going to be done about it?

The issue was brought to a head on Thursday when Gladstone firefighters were sent to a job in Calliope.

Their request for a back-up crew to man the station in their absence was denied, essentially leaving the Gladstone area unprotected for almost an hour.

Frustrated firefighters took to the streets on Friday with signs expressing their concerns for the Gladstone public.

Secretary for the Queensland Firefighters Union, John Oliver said the QFRS claim that Gladstone fire station had 21 rostered firefighters was misleading.

"It gives the impression that there were 21 people available to respond in case of a crisis, and that's just not true. I wish it was," he said.

"There were four."

"There are probably more people serving the counter at McDonald's than responding to emergencies in Gladstone."

Mr Oliver also expressed concern about the effect the cost of living in Gladstone was having on firefighters.

"We have firefighters living in Rockhampton because they can't afford to live in Gladstone," he said.

"There needs to be some sort of attraction and retention for rural areas with a high cost of living, and State Government should realise this."

 

What the candidates said ...

Independent member Liz Cunningham

THE Labor Government's idea of financial management appears to be to spend on politically motivated items, and when the debt starts to role in, cut critical services. Already we have a situation where our firefighters are not resourced for the industry mix in the area. I believe we need at least a full additional crew.

 

Australian Party candidate Anthony Beezley

HOW long are we going to allow this game of Russian roulette with the safety of community to continue? I believe that this was an exercise to save money... About $500 I believe was saved! What is driving this attitude of penny-pinching? What's next? The Ambos? Let's find the culprit and put this practice to rest. We need to support the men and women who put others lives before their own.

 

LNP candidate Russel Schroter

THIS is a very worrying situation for the Gladstone community and it's a situation that's happening right across the state under the failed management of the tired, 20-year Labor government, not just with fire crews and trucks, but also with ambulances and police. Emergency services are key frontline services for Gladstone, especially given the massive industrial expansion Gladstone is undergoing.

 

ALP candidate Glenn Butcher

THE last thing we want to see is our community left at risk because these professionals aren't getting the support that they need to keep our community safe. As soon as I heard about the situation and the events that transpired I immediately phoned the minister to ask for assurance that there were steps being taken to make sure this doesn't happen again.

 

Greens candidate Andrew Blake

I FULLY support the actions of the Fire Union on Friday. The situation on Thursday was unacceptable for any community. I believe it's an example of penny-pinching gone mad. The decision put lives and properties at risk.

 



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