LNP bushfire plan gets rural firies' thumbs up

Rural Fire Brigade Association of Qld endorses LNP bushfire plan

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RFBAQ general manager Justin Choveaux said it was important for his organisation to advocate for members' needs, not just raise money to pay grants to brigades to cover government funding shortfalls. Picture: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

RFBAQ general manager Justin Choveaux said it was important for his organisation to advocate for members' needs, not just raise money to pay grants to brigades to cover government funding shortfalls. Picture: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

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Queensland's rural firefighters have endorsed the bushfire mitigation plan released by the LNP and say the lack of similar thought by the state's other political parties is concerning.

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Queensland's rural firefighters have endorsed the bushfire mitigation plan released by the LNP and say the lack of similar thought by the state's other political parties is concerning.

The 10-point plan outlined by opposition leader Deb Frecklington earlier in the year restores local control to rural fire brigades and would establish a dedicated Rural Fire Board.

A restructure of Queensland's fire services in a way that returned decision making power to those with local knowledge and community defence skills was the subject of a letter from the Rural Fire Brigades Association of Queensland to the government in August, which received no response.

RFBAQ general manager Justin Choveaux said they had written to each political party asking for support for their restructure call and to date had received positive replies from the LNP and Katter's Australian Party, but nothing from the ALP.

"We've done our homework - we took the LNP plan to the management committee, discussed it and resolved to support it," he said.

"We welcome all other political parties coming up with something similar and engaging with us as stakeholders.

"The more parties do that and say how they'll support us on the ground, the better."

Commenting on the existing QFES Queensland bushfire plan, Mr Choveaux said much of that was about responding to something that had already started.

"That's too late - the gate's open, the horse is gone," he said.

The LNP's fire and emergency services spokesman Lachlan Millar has welcomed the endorsement of its bushfire mitigation plan by the experts in the field.

Describing it as a ringing endorsement, Mr Millar said the LNP was the only party that had a serious plan to get Queensland's bushfire mitigation back under control.

"Queenslanders can have confidence in our plan for bushfire mitigation that is backed by the experts responsible for fighting fires," he said.

"This endorsement from the RFBAQ comes after the federal government's Royal Commission into bushfires interim report supported key elements of the LNP's comprehensive plan to get Queensland bushfire-ready.

"A Deb Frecklington LNP government will treat rural firies with the respect they deserve and provide them with the equipment they need."

Among the points raised in the plan is a single point of contact for all landholders to answer and enable bushfire mitigation inquiries, as recommended by the 2018 IGEM report.

It would also initiate key performance indicators to hold government departments to account on hazard reduction burns, trial traditional burning with Indigenous rangers, and offer monitored grazing in state forests and some national parks to manage fuel loads.

The 2018 IGEM report cited grazing as a measure used in conjunction with a suite of hazard reduction measures.

The point about restoring local control to rural fire brigades is aimed at recent management structure changes that pushed local fire brigades under the reporting authority of regional urban fire groups.

The LNP would also undertake a stock take of aviation fire assets in Queensland to ensure the state's capacity will accommodate future increased fire risks.

The story LNP bushfire plan gets rural firies' thumbs up first appeared on North Queensland Register.

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