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Minister to look over Malone's Rural Fire Service review

Rural firefighters have called on the State Government to revamp their funding and legislation.
Rural firefighters have called on the State Government to revamp their funding and legislation.

COMMUNITY Safety Minister Jack Dempsey will give serious consideration to recommendations made in the Malone Review into improving Queensland's Rural Fire Service.

Qld Police Minister Jack Dempsey.
Qld Police Minister Jack Dempsey. Rob Williams

Mr Dempsey has received a copy of the review, conducted by Assistant Minister for Emergency Volunteers Ted Malone, and will work through it in the coming weeks.

The review occurred after the Minister attracted heavy criticism recently when he outlined plans to amalgamate some of the rural fire service regions in Queensland and close several offices, including in Maryborough, Emerald and Maroochydore.

The Rural Fire Brigades Association of Queensland argued the closure of offices would leave huge parts of the state without a base.

The association stated the closure of Roma and Toowoomba offices would mean no base for rural fire brigades from Toowoomba to the Northern Territory and South Australian borders.

After negotiations with the RFBAQ, Mr Dempsey announced on Thursday that no offices would close.

But jobs would still be lost.

It was then announced that Mirani MP Ted Malone would head a ministerial review into the Rural Fire Service to assess the future of the volunteer-based organisation.

Mr Dempsey in September the job loses would be limited to executive and administration areas.

"This review has investigated options to foster autonomy and efficiency at the district level while at the same time cut the red tape that has been tying up hardworking rural firefighters who just want to get on with the job," he said.

"I look forward to considering the review's recommendations.

"I would also like to thank Ted and his team for the countless hours they have spent ensuring that every voice has been heard.

Mirani MP Ted Malone.
Mirani MP Ted Malone. APN PHOTO LIBRARY

"Since October last year, they have met more than 1,000 volunteer firefighters at meetings in 13 locations and received more than 240 submissions."

Mr Malone said he would like to thank all the volunteer rural firefighters who attended meetings or gave their input.

"I would like to thank the 3,500 volunteers in Queensland, in particular those who participated in the process, and I dedicate this report to them," Mr Malone said.

Any changes resulting from the review are expected to be implemented prior to the 2013-2014 bushfire season.

Topics:  job cuts, rural fire service, state government, ted malone


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