The Palaszczuk Government is supporting better services by boosting frontline resources in a record 2022-23 Fire and Emergency Services budget.
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan said the 2022-23 State Budget would invest more than $900 million in the work of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) which includes the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS), Rural Fire Service (RFS), State Emergency Service (SES) and marine rescue services.
“Queensland Fire and Emergency Services continues to stand strong alongside the community through emergencies, disaster response and recovery,” Mr Ryan said.
“In recent months QFES officers, staff and volunteers have shown exceptional skill and courage through one of the most challenging wet seasons Queensland has seen in recent history.
“The delivery of new and upgraded facilities, equipment and infrastructure will enable crews to continue to serve and protect Queensland communities.”
Mr Ryan said the record budget would progress new and upgraded facilities servicing Airlie Beach, Caloundra South, Drayton, Greater Springfield, Gympie South, Hervey Bay, Loganlea, Lowood, Maryborough, Moreton Bay, Mount Cotton, and South Townsville, as well as the mechanical workshops for south-east Queensland.
In addition, the budget will support the continued investment in new and replacement FRS and RFS trucks, as part of the rolling fleet replacement program as well as new vessels for the SES and marine rescue services.
These budget commitments all support the record and historic investment in the FRS of 357 extra firefighters over five years made in 2020-21.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to enhancing QFES’ frontline resources so firefighters and fire and emergency services volunteers and staff can continue to safely and effectively respond to a wide range of emergency incidents, which often require specialist training and equipment,” Mr Ryan said.
“That’s why this budget also allocates funding for specialised firefighting equipment, scientific analysis and detection, breathing apparatus, severe weather response and rescue equipment.
“The Palaszczuk Government is supporting Queensland’s future single integrated marine rescue service (Marine Rescue Queensland) with a vessel replacement program, that includes the delivery of the first new vessel in the program to Thursday Island.
“The government is also continuing the nationally renowned If it’s Flooded, Forget It campaign with further funding.”
As the most disaster-impacted state in the nation, it is important for Queensland to continually improve its capacity and capability to respond to natural disasters.
To support these efforts, the budget funds a technology refresh and enhancement of the ICT and audio-visual equipment at the State Disaster Coordination Centre at Kedron.
In addition, the Palaszczuk Government has also committed to increased funding of $20 million in the 2022-23 financial year for the SES to enhance operational capability and risk management.
This includes 33 new positions on top of the extra seven positions recently announced, and a capital boost for new equipment, including new SES flood boats and upgraded facilities for the Lowood SES Group.
An additional $8 million has been committed to marine rescue services next financial year, to support operational capability and accelerate the replacement of rescue vessels.
A further $10 million has been committed next financial year for new RFS facilities, including funding for a new facility for Rural Fire Brigades in the Maryborough region.
QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said investing in frontline resources, infrastructure and education was central to the organisation continuing to prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters alongside the Queensland community.
“We welcome the record investment in the FRS of new firefighters, facilities and equipment and the historic additional commitment of funding to the SES, RFS and Marine Rescue Queensland. Our workforce in Queensland is vital and we need to ensure they are appropriately equipped to continue to meet community expectations,” Commissioner Leach said.
“QFES is continuously looking at ways to evolve and improve its emergency response and upgrading facilities and equipment is at the forefront of how we can achieve this.”