Townsville, Maryborough, Cairns, the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg and Charters Towers are the first regional centres to benefit from the Palaszczuk Government’s $29.5 million four-year commitment to provide 100 new firefighters across the state.
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford announced the 25 firefighter positions had been allocated to the regional centres based on Queensland Fire and Emergency Services’ (QFES) operational priorities.
Mr Crawford said 11 positions would be assigned to the North Coast Region – five on the Sunshine Coast, four in Maryborough and two in Bundaberg.
He said another five would be based in Toowoomba in the South Western Region – and one firefighter position in Cairns in the Far Northern Region.
“And the Northern Region will be bolstered by the arrival of eight new firefighters – seven in Townsville and one in Charters Towers, once they graduate from a recruit course in December,” Mr Crawford said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has the personnel, infrastructure and equipment to deliver enhanced services and support across the state.
“We reaffirmed this commitment in this financial year’s record $702 million QFES Budget – which delivers on our election promise to boost frontline services.
“One way we are achieving this is through our $29.5 million four-year investment delivering 100 firefighters and 12 new fire communications officers.
“These 25 new firefighter positions are among the 62 firefighters I announced will be deployed under the first round of this investment.
“Regional centres across Queensland are continuing to grow, so it is only fitting more frontline firefighting staff are sent to these areas to meet future demand.
“The additional firefighters will go a long way towards bolstering frontline services, and we will continue working with the QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll and stakeholders to determine where they will be best placed to serve Queenslanders.
Mr Crawford said the eight firefighters destined for the Northern Region were among 32 new recruits undertaking a 78-day training course in Brisbane.
“I welcomed the recruits last week, and even took part in a fire drill they will undergo during their training at the Queensland Combined Emergency Services Academy,” he said.
“The 32 QFES recruits doing the course will take up positions in Ipswich (10), Townsville (7), Charters Towers (1) Maryborough (4), Gladstone (3), Mackay (3), Rockhampton (2) and Bundaberg (1),” he said. (One allocation is still to be determined).