Queensland’s frontline emergency services have received budget backing to help them protect and support communities.
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said more than $800 million in funding would underpin the disaster management capabilities of professional firefighters in the Fire and Rescue Service, Rural Fire Service volunteers and State Emergency Service volunteers.
Overall, a collective $42.7 million over four years has been allocated towards bushfire mitigation, enhancing natural disaster predictive services, strengthening the planning, response and recovery from bushfires and disasters, along with land use and planning enhancements for bushfire management.
“It’s about keeping communities safe and nothing is more important than that,” Mr Ryan said.
“Queensland experiences around 60 per cent of the nation’s natural disasters and our first responders are being called on more and more to help Queenslanders when disasters strike.
“Their hours are not nine to five, their job is often dangerous and for that we owe them our heartfelt gratitude,” Mr Ryan said.
The 2021-22 Budget includes more than double the funding from the last financial year for Rural Fire Service vehicles to provide volunteers with the latest state-of-the-art appliances.
Further, this budget delivers funding to provide more than 40 new vehicles for Fire and Rescue Service professional firefighters.
This marks the continuation of a six-year commitment that has delivered more than 620 Fire and Rescue Service and Rural Fire Service vehicles.
The SES will receive more than $21 million, which includes funding to assist with securing life-saving equipment, such as defibrillators, protective clothing and flares, and additional support for costs associated with purchasing and maintaining facilities and vehicles.
Almost $7 million has been allocated to complete the replacement of Fire and Rescue Service facilities at Gracemere, Longreach, Rainbow Beach and Rosewood, and at the new location in Mossman, which are all expected to be opened in 2021-22.
$1.8 million will also go towards the completion of the new multi-agency complex at Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland that will house Fire and Rescue Service professional firefighters, Rural Fire Service volunteers and SES personnel.
“The new complex at Maleny will serve as an important hub for Sunshine Coast operations to enable Fire and Rescue Service professional firefighters and Rural Fire Service and SES volunteers to swiftly respond to incidents.
“Queensland Fire and Emergency Services personnel will be supported with $3.2 million in funding for operational hardware, including rescue equipment, protective clothing, communications technology and specialist tools to analyse hazardous materials,” Mr Ryan said.
More than $13 million has been allocated to continue work on the construction of a new regional headquarters in Maryborough and Fire and Rescue Service facilities in Loganlea and Mt Cotton.
The SES and Rural Fire Service volunteers will be further supported with the continuation of almost $900,000 in grants.
The grants form part of the financial support volunteers receive to help them meet costs and secure the equipment they need to continue to keep communities safe.
The Minister said an additional $1.4 million would also be provided to the SES for a range of measures.
Every SES region will receive $40,000 that can be used for operational purposes and incidentals, such as catering for volunteers and minor repairs, along with $30,000 for SES Trainers and $200,000 statewide for special training requirements.
$350,000 has also been set aside for new and replacement defibrillators, with a priority roll out to ensure every SES group has a defibrillator in the first instance. Further, funding will be provided to equip every SES vehicle with a set of red and blue e-flares.
“These budget initiatives are in recognition of the hard work and selfless dedication shown by SES volunteers across the State,” Mr Ryan said.