Friday, April 19, 2024

Queensland Budget pledges $125m to state’s fire resources

The Queensland Government 2023-24 Budget has pledged $125 million in funding for Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).

The budget allocation includes $20.7 million for vital new infrastructure including Fire and Rescue stations in the rapidly growing areas of Caloundra South, Mount Cotton Road, Moreton Bay Central and Greater Springfield. 

There is also $5.8 million to be spent on upgrades and refurbishments to auxiliary Fire and Rescue stations including the country centres of Boonah, Imbil, Mitchell, Emerald and Allora.

“My government will always support our dedicated front-line workers who do so much to support their fellow Queenslanders,” said Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“And it’s vitally important that we provide our emergency workers with every support we can.”

Included in the budget is $17.9 million for the acquisition of land for future Fire and Emergency Services facilities at Hervey Bay, Atherton, Highfields, Beerwah, South Townsville, Wulguru, and Bundaberg East.

Fire and Rescue firefighters will benefit directly from $18.7 million worth of new and replacement FRS trucks and more than $12 million of new and replacement operational equipment including firefighting gear, scientific analysis and detection devices, breathing apparatus, and rescue equipment.

“Firefighters and volunteers always look after the community so the least we can do is make sure we provide them with the personnel, resources and infrastructure they need to do their vital work,” said Treasurer, Cameron Dick.

“That’s why we are delivering a record QFES budget. This funding will ensure frontline staff have the important equipment and vehicles and people they need to continue to support the community.”

The Rural Fire Service will also receive an investment of $16.1 million towards new and replacement trucks, in addition to $2.6 million on new operational equipment, and $1 million towards the overall $3 million project to retrofit life-saving cabin deluge systems into existing rural fire trucks.

“This budget provides reassurance to our personnel that they’ll continue to have access to the equipment and resources they need to be able to do their life-saving work in the safest way possible,” said QFES Commissioner Greg Leach (pictured).

“Heavy investment in new or upgraded stations for both FRS and RFS is happening across the state as we speak, and this budget ensures that work continues on preparing to meet the service delivery needs of communities by identifying and purchasing land for future fire stations to be designed and constructed.

“The ongoing investment in the retrofitting of cabin deluge systems for RFS trucks will be welcomed by thousands of volunteer firefighters across the state, as they prepare for what could be an early start to the bushfire season.

“News of $3 million in the budget for support vehicles and more than $11 million in capital grants will be welcomed by more than 5,000 SES volunteers across Queensland.”

The State Emergency Service will receive $3 million for support vehicles and $11.2 million in capital grants to be dispersed among the state’s 76 SES units.

“On behalf of SES volunteers across the state, the Queensland State Emergency Service Volunteer Association welcomes the 2023-24 State Budget and is pleased to see a significant increase in funding and opportunities from this budget for the SES,” said President Queensland SES Volunteer Association, Eddie Cowie ESM.

The State Government has also made a significant investment towards continuing valuable QFES community education programs as part of the 2023-24 State Budget.

Funding of $2.6 million over the next four years has been approved to enhance the delivery of the QFES Road Attitudes and Action Planning (RAAP) program. The program involves experienced operational firefighters presenting practical road safety advice to young Queenslanders, to educate them about safe driving practices. This funding will assist with expanding the program’s delivery into various youth settings in the community, as well as conducting regional tours to reach young drivers across the state. 

“It is great to see our RAAP program being recognised in this year’s budget. Our operational firefighters carry out tremendous educational work throughout Queensland, with their knowledge and expertise contributing to the safety of young motorists who are just about to go out on the road for the first time,” said Commissioner Leach.

The Bushfire Safety Campaign, which delivers critical safety and preparedness advice for Queenslanders consider for the annual Bushfire Season, will receive a total of $5 million in funding over three years, to design and advertise a new campaign. 

“This record QFES budget demonstrates the Queensland Government’s commitment to our frontline Fire and Rescue, Rural Fire Service and SES personnel and essential work they do to keep us safe,” said Minister, Mark Ryan.

“The Palaszczuk Government has recognised the need to better equip and protect those extraordinarily brave people responsible for protecting Queenslanders, which is why we are investing heavily in new or improved FRS stations in high growth areas of the state, and new equipment and trucks for our firefighters.

“We are also focusing our investment in new facilities, equipment and trucks for our RFS personnel,” the Minister said.

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