Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

100,000 Volunteers Fire Up over Proposal That Could Win Election

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

100,000 Volunteers Fire Up over Proposal That Could Win Election

Article excerpt

Byline: Sherele Moody


Better defence and recovery options.

A stronger voice for volunteers in the wake of climate change impacts

Organisations such as the RFBAQ, the SES and Surf Life Saving Queensland part of a swifter consultation process

It would allow for multiple agencies to come together more efficiently.

Source: Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland

ABOUT 100,000 unpaid life savers will be the big winners under a push for the Queensland Government to improve funding resources and cut red tape for emergency service volunteers.

And if politicians do not support the bill, their voters could change the outcome of the looming state election as lobbying for the roll out of an Emergency Volunteer Respect Act begins.

Queensland is scheduled to go to the polls in 2018, but some commentators suggest the election will be held this year.

The mooted Emergency Volunteer Respect Bill aims to make saving lives a lot easier for the state's massive unpaid army working across rural and regional fire brigades, the State Emergency Service, Surf Life Saving Queensland, Marine Rescue Queensland, the coast guard, St John's Ambulance and the Queensland Ambulance Service.

Driven by the Rural Fire Brigades Association of Queensland, the proposal would see three existing pieces of legislation become one, while one government department - instead of three - would be responsible for management of the state's emergency services volunteers.

The RFBAQ lobbies on behalf of the state's 36,000-plus unpaid fire fighters and with the backing of SLSQ, the SES, MRQ, St John's and QAS, a further 64,000 volunteers could mean the difference between Labor, the Coalition or dark horse Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party winning at the polls or holding the balance of power.

RFBAQ general manager Justin Choveaux warned Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk she needed to commit to getting the proposal off the ground or risk losing votes. …

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