GET ON WITH THE JOB: Massie and District Rural Fire Brigade First Officer Kris Duncan backs the government policy. Picture: File.
GET ON WITH THE JOB: Massie and District Rural Fire Brigade First Officer Kris Duncan backs the government policy. Picture: File.

Bluecard controversy wastes valuable firefighting time

THE rule that has been criticised for its likelihood to ban rural firefighters in the state’s time of need has been supported by local firefighters.

Kris Duncan, first officer of the Massie and District Rural Fire Brigade, said the reaction to volunteers’ requirements for a Blue Card has been blown out of proportion.

“It’s been hyped up and not as big a deal as people are making of it,” he said.

“Everyone in the Massie Fire Brigade has one or is going through the application process.”

Queensland volunteer firefighters will be required to lodge a Blue Card application before December 1 or they will not be able to continue their work.

This could result in 15,000 volunteers being banned if they don’t apply for a Working With Children Check.

The chief officer believes it is not a big ask considering it is part of the application to become a volunteer.

“It literally takes five minutes, so I don’t see the fuss,” he said.

“I wouldn’t want to be on the line of fire with someone who has a criminal record.”

Mr Duncan said it was a government policy, so was out of the service’s control.

“If we want to move forward and be treated as professionals then we should comply with the government’s policy,” he said.

“Being a volunteer means being held to a high standard in the community so you should have one and if you don’t, maybe you should find something else to do to fill your time.”

While Mr Duncan has never come across children on the frontline of fire himself, he said it was an important qualification to have if firefighters ever find themselves being involved in community engagement.

He said it was also no cost to volunteers with the Massie and District Rural Fire Brigade.

“If you are going to schools or something to talk about fires, then you absolutely need it,” he said.

Mr Duncan said he believed the controversy was wasting firefighting time.

“The people who are refusing to do it are the ones hurting the service,” he said.

“It takes five minutes to apply and you can worry about the politics later.

“It’s the middle of fire season.

“Let’s just get on with it so we can protect the community.”



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