Page 3 - Smoke Signals Autumn/Winter 2017
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Message from the President
John Bundy, RFBAQ President
Well here I am thinking it has been a quiet year and then I went to Mackay for the RFBAQ General Meeting, caught up with some old friends and new ones from Seaforth, Eaton and Dumbleton station for a BBQ. It’s been a few years since I’ve spent time in the area had a great night thanks to all involved.
Then a lady called Debbie came along and upset my plans, cyclones tend to do that. That comes to my next issue, it seems that there are some changes in the wind for Primary Producer Brigades (PPBs) in that they may be asked to help in areas they have not been involved in before. In particular, these opportunities may exist in attending deployments to cyclone disaster areas, chainsaw operators and other targeted skills; contact your local area offices if you want to get involved.
RFBAQ is joining with QFES in touring the state as part of the PPB Forums, the idea is to come to the rural areas to various field days Farmfest, Hungerford, Emerald and Barcaldine, but first Mareeba in late May. There are others yet to be confirmed which are mostly for information gathering to
find out what it is that brigades in the bush want. Fuel and maintenance for PPBs is not an option, however we will see what the survey shows us. In the long run, it may not be major or not a lot, but any little thing helps.
As the state develops so too does the demands on rural fire brigades increases and that leads to a growth of brigades that require expanding. The cost of building sheds/stations increases exponentially, it is now not unusual for a shed to cost over 400k. New workplace requirements including the provision of showers, toilets and washing machines (so that you do not take soot and cancer causing particulates home). After all no one wants to hurt our families.
This leads to some curly questions. How can a small community afford one? How do you go there? Do you want to go there? On past practice this could take 3 to 15 years, that’s a long lead time so if possible starting to plan sooner rather than later is a better option. What is your 5 year plan? Your 10 year plan? Do you have one?
Then there is our use of AFFF firefighting foams, QFES has had us in to discuss the use of these and as their use is unsupported we no
longer use them, even though some is finding its way into our sheds. Sometimes this is even given to us as other users are trying to downsize their supplies. I commend the actions of the Commissioner and QFES in the handling of this issue.
The new QFES structure is starting to be bedded in and results have yet to be felt, but the handling of our latest emergency shows either more practice or a more streamlined approach. Sometimes it feels like shuffling the deck chairs on the good ship lollipop and as change appears constant we just must get used to it.
I look forward to meeting more brigade volunteers this year.
Thanks again for what you do each and every day in keeping Queenslanders safe. I look forward to meeting with many more brigades as I travel across regional Queensland in the coming months.
Message from the Minister
By Hon. Mark Ryan MP, Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
Let me take this opportunity to thank the more than 36,000 Rural Fire Brigade volunteers who perform a critical role protecting much of Queensland from the threat of catastrophic bushfires.
One of the highlights of my job as Emergency Services Minister is getting out and about across the state to meet the dedicated volunteers who selflessly give up their time defending their communities.
It is an exciting time for emergency volunteers in Queensland, with the Emergency Volunteers Advisory Forum to soon meet for the first time.
The agenda will be wide-ranging and importantly will include discussions of statutory recognition for emergency volunteers.
I acknowledge the RFBAQ’s efforts to date to bring all Queensland’s emergency volunteer groups together to discuss how the Government can enhance support for volunteers.
I’m proud of the great success of the Palaszczuk Government’s Fuel and Vehicle Maintenance Funding Initiative to support Rural Fire Service asset registered vehicles.
I am pleased to advise that to date 860 Rural Fire Service vehicles are receiving funding through this initiative.
This support is reducing the burden on brigades to meet the sometimes high cost of vehicle maintenance and allowing them more capacity to undertake community preparedness and preparation activities.
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