Rural firefighters are demanding reforms following damning report
Rural firefighters are demanding reforms following damning report

Rural firies demanding more preparation after critical report

RURAL firefighters have called for reforms to the fire service following a damning Auditor-General report.

The report into "bushfire prevention and preparedness" said while Queensland could better respond to, prevent and prepare for bushfires than it could five years ago, the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service had failed to adopt recommendations from multiple reviews.

"QFES needs to do more - it can respond more efficiently to bushfires by better co-ordinating activities and adopting preventative actions," the report said.

It said the QFES had not adopted recommendations to implement local bushfire plans from the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission - despite publicly supporting them.

"This is a significant omission by the interdepartmental committee tasked with overseeing Queensland's response to the VBRC recommendations," the report read.

Rural Fire Brigades Association general manager Justin Choveaux said recommendations from a series of reviews and reports had not been adopted.

"The Auditor-General has discovered what everyone else has discovered - the fire service has never implemented the recommendations of reports," he said.

He said unlike urban crews, rural fire volunteers needed to do more preventative work.

Mr Choveaux said the 2013 Malone Review into rural fire services was a "blueprint" for improving rural fire brigades operations. The Auditor-General's report found "a multi-layered approval process" was delaying the Malone Review's recommendations implementation.

However, a spokesman for Acting Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Andrew Powell would not commit the government to adopting the Auditor-General's recommendations.

"The government is working to ensure Queensland is the safest place to live, work and raise a family and will carefully consider the recommendations made in the report," he said.

"We are already enhancing local control over fire mitigation and have written to 100,000 homeowners to advise them on how they can improve their bushfire preparedness.

"We will continue to work with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to increase the safety of local communities."

- APN NEWSDESK



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