Queensland Members of Parliament must choose

Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015




You can’t be a little bit pregnant, you either are or you’re not.

The same applies with the upcoming vote in Parliament; MP’s either support their volunteer firefighters or they don’t.

On Wednesday 3rd June 2015, Mr Jarrod Bleijie Shadow Minister for Police, Fire, Emergency Services and Corrective Services presented to Parliament a Private Members Bill to amend the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

This landmark draft legislation will provide the highest level of support for all firefighters in any Australian State or Territory, and will cover all firefighters and Fire Wardens with no discriminatory prerequisites. This means that full time, part time and volunteer firefighters will be fairly covered should they contract cancer while defending their communities.

In a meeting on Wednesday 8th July 2015 with Queensland Treasury, the Palaszczuk Labor government presented their draft Bill to go before Parliament and this contains the section where full time firefighters are covered from their 1st fire, part time firefighters are covered from their 1st fire and volunteer firefighters will need to attend a minimum of 150 fires before they receive cancer coverage. The RFBAQ were not allowed to take a copy of the draft Bill from the room, has not had the ability to receive advice on the draft Bill and has not had the opportunity to consult the volunteer Board that directs RFBAQ policy. The RFBAQ clearly stated to Treasury that this single short meeting is not considered consultation.

The RFBAQ on the 12th June supplied a large background information piece to volunteers and brigades and now calls on all Rural Fire Brigades, volunteer firefighters, Fire Wardens and concerned members of the public to ensure that your voice is heard in stopping this discrimination.

On Wednesday 15th July the Palaszczuk Labor government presented to Parliament a Bill that sees volunteer firefighter needing to attend 150 fires before they can access Presumptive Legislation.
Every MP must now choose to support a Bill that supports all firefighters or vote for a Bill that discriminates against the 1,441 Rural Fire Brigades and the 36,000 volunteer firefighters that defend 93% of Queensland.
Parliamentary Committee MP's will be taking submissions on firefighter cancer coverage are also Members of Parliament whose electorates and communities are defended by volunteer firefighters.

Head of the Parliamentary Committee that can support volunteer firefighters is Mr Mark Furner MP, Member for Ferny Grove - ALP (click here to view Ferny Grove map).

The Ferny Grove electorate is 244 sq klm, Rural Fire Brigades cover 193 sq klm = 80%

  • 5 brigades
  • 284 volunteers
  • 6 stations (1 brigade has 2 stations)
  • 15 yellow rural fire trucks
  • 1 support vehicle
  • 2 slip on firefighting units
  • 2 trailer firefighting units
  • 22 Fire Warden Districts

There are no Urban Fire and Rescue Stations within the Ferny Grove electorate.

A Labor Member of the Parliamentary Committee that can support volunteer firefighters is Jim Madden MP, Member for Ipswich West - ALP (click here to view Ipswich West map).

  • Rural Fire Brigades covers approx. 75% of the Ipswich West electorate.
  • 8 Rural Fire Brigades
  • 7 Rural Fire Brigade Stations, 1 currently being built
  • 384 Volunteers
  • 23 yellow rural fire trucks
  • 2 Support vehicles

A Labor Member of the Parliamentary Committee that can support volunteer firefighters is Mark Ryan, MP, Member for Morayfield - ALP (click here to view Morayfield map).

The Morayfield Electorate is 127 sq klm, Rural Fire Brigades cover 70.57 sq klm = 56%

  • 3 Rural Fire Brigades  
  • 186 volunteers
  • 9 yellow rural fire trucks
  • 1 support vehicle.
  • 1 fire warden

There are 2 urban stations within boundary (Caboolture and Burpengary).

It would be difficult to see how these MP’s could vote against supporting the majority of firefighters in their own electorates.

The Honourable Jo-Ann Miller MP is the Minister responsible for Fire and Emergency Services and therefore the Minister responsible for supporting volunteer firefighters can be contacted on:

Shop 39, St Ives Shopping Centre, 2 Smiths Road, Goodna  Qld  4300
(PO Box 122, Goodna  Qld  4300)

Ph: 07 3447 9100
Fax: 07 3447 9109

The RFBAQ encourages all who wish to ensure that this discrimination does not go ahead to contact your local MP and /or use the A3 “pledge to support” poster.

If you have a photo with your MP and the “pledge to support” poster, please email a copy to the RFBAQ so that pledge can be acknowledged and widely distributed.


How you can make your volunteering voice heard

Write a letter to your local MP

  • Identify yourself as a voter in their electorate. Find your local MP and CC your local (insert new external contact list) as they will be working together with other brigades in your district on behalf of RFB volunteers
  • Make letter as personal as possible so that it is clear that your letter is not a generic template, insert any previous support you have given or received from your MP
  • Use handwriting if it is legible and neat, do not write in UPPER CASE
  • Keep it to one page
  • Identify why you are writing
  • Support your position with three key points, try not to ramble (keep on topic)
  • Don’t criticize your MP, if you want something from them be polite and rational
  • Sign the letter and add your full name and address, this will allow the MP to send you an acknowledgement as well as confirming that you are a voter in their electorate

Letters to the editor (local or state newspaper)

  • MPs’ and their staff read their local papers and pay attention to the Editorial section and
  • Letters to the Editor
  • As above, keep your letter to one page @ 250 – 300 words
  • As above, Identify why you are writing
  • As above, support position with three key points, try not to ramble
  • As above, sign the letter and add your full name and address

Meet your MP

  • The most effective way to make your point with your MP is in person
  • Ring your local MP in their electorate office and ask for a meeting
  • Do not ring when Parliament is sitting as your MP will be in Brisbane
  • Identify why you want the meeting
  • Do not go as a group
  • Keep to the topic you want to talk about
  • Support your position with three key points, try not to ramble (keep on topic)
  • Provide local evidence of what needs to change
  • Ask them for their support and what will happen next
  • Thank your MP for the meeting

Ask your MP to attend your Brigade meeting

  • Having your local MP attend a brigade meeting is an excellent way to physically demonstrate the capacity of your local RFB
  • Ring your local MP in their electorate office and advise of the time and place of your next meeting
  • Advise the MP’s office of the topics that you wish to discuss
  • Do not use this as an opportunity to demean or ambush your local MP with matters not agreed for discussion

Become their Facebook friend

  • Facebook is a valuable tool as it is real time and other constituents can read the posts
  • MP’s monitor their Facebook account regularly and use it to judge community sentiment
  • Keep your message short – people have a limited attention span on Facebook
  • Do not write anything abusive or defamatory as your name will be next to your post
  • Check all posts on a word document first – as spelling mistakes take away from your message
  • Be aware that people will probably attach other matters to your post
  • Do not get angry and type if someone disagrees with you – be calm and rational

You will be the face of 36,000 volunteers, so you through your actions and what you say represent us all.

Need help finding for your local MP or your RFBAQ District Representative?

Contact the RFBAQ on 07 5480 5130 or email.
For more information visit the RFBAQ website.

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