No need for mainland Rural Fire Brigade

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner says that mainland Redland City does not need a Rural Fire Brigade.

Redland City does not need a mainland Rural Fire Brigade according to the QFES Commissioner – Photo credit

A comprehensive report by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), presented formally to Council on 26 July made many recommendations but did not suggest the need for establishment of a Rural Fire Brigade (RFB) for mainland Redland City.

In a letter dated 21 July (but only recently made publicly available) the QFES Commissioner advised Mayor Karen Williams that:

  • QFES has decided not to establish a new Rural Fire Brigade on mainland Redland City
  • QFES will work with Council to support bushfire education and hazard mitigation activities with residents in the Mount Cotton area.

The Commissioner said that existing services could manage the threat of bushfires:

As you are aware QFES has existing capacity and capability from both the Fire and Rescue stations and nearby RFBs to manage the threat of bushfire, not only in the Mount Cotton area but also across the mainland areas of Redland City.

Despite this clear expert advice, local councillor Julie Talty (Division 6) has been agitating for establishment of a mainland RFB which would require imposition of a financial levy on all mainland ratepayers. In a recent post on her Facebook page she said:

So, council votes in support of putting a $20 per house levy on every house in the Redlands in order to plant another 1,000,000 trees, but refuses to add $2 per house in order to manage the fire risk with the help of a Mainland Rural Fire Brigade Service to help with education, planning and mitigation. So now it’s official, after three years of work by local residents in support of gaining a brigade, the QFES has decided in accordance with Council’s decision there will be no Mainland Rural Fire Service.

Other councillors have rejected the need for levying ratepayers to establish a mainland RFB.

Deputy Mayor Wendy Boglary said:

Recently there has been discussions concerning a Rural Fire Brigade in the Mt Cotton area. Councillors supported an investigation into the need and workshops were held.

We also asked for the Queensland Fire Service Representatives to address councillors with their professional opinion .

The cost for a Rural Brigade for the Mount Cotton area was too great so it was then increased to a Rural Service for the whole of the mainland however the professional opinion was that Redlands mainland was adequately covered by the existing services.

If there is a Fire anywhere in Redlands a Rural Fire Brigade is not the initial call. It is the urban Fire Stations that are the first respondents and Redlands three Stations, Capalaba, Cleveland and Redland Bay to cover Redlands so no one is at risk.

Rural Fire Brigades can be called up to assist residents, education and can be back up for an urban station. At present this is all covered so the professional Queensland Fire Department t opinion is that there is no need to have Fire levy on Redlands residents to fund an unnecessary service.
It is not that councillors didn’t support, the fact is councillors researched, listened to the experts, learnt and once informed made their decision.
Below is a letter dated the 21st July , which councillors only received yesterday after I requested for any information that had formally come from the QFES, that states the professional QFES position that a Rural Fire Brigade is not required.

My decision was based on facts and not political pressure or agendas and I remain focussed on supporting the community basing my decisions on researched facts .

As Chair of Local Disaster Recovery , a position I take seriously and am actively involved in, I have already held discussions about the recent Fire Report which is on our next Local Disaster Committee meeting agenda. There were numerous actions that arose from the report , many of which Council was already doing or has now initiated. I can assure residents this report will be discussed in detail and I have several suggestions to make at this meeting to increase our management not just in Fire mitigation but also storm, flood , accidents and even to increase safety on our beaches especially during holiday seasons .

Our emergency services, including our local SES, do an amazing job and I have full confidence in their advice and competency .

Councillor Lance Hewlett said:

Thank you Deputy Mayor Wendy Boglary for finally uncovering the facts on the “suggestion” that ratepayers (via another levy) foot the bill for a mainland Rural Fire Brigade. The Commissioner herself confirms it is NOT Needed.

Councillor Paul Golle had some interesting comments on the time taken for the Commissioner’s letter to be made available

QEFS letter advising no need for a Rural Fire Brigade

Letter about Rural Fire Brigade from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner 21 July 2017

Redlands2030 – 19 August 2017

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

3 thoughts on “No need for mainland Rural Fire Brigade

  1. There are some facts that need to be circulated in relation to Redlands and North Stradbroke Island .
    What rural/urban fire resources do we have in relation to Off Road Tankers and 4WD Trucks ? Do we just watch on the bitumen roads while thousands of hectares of old growth and koala habitat goes up in flames like the FGK corridor in 2012 and glider and koala habitat on NSI later ?
    The reports recommendations from the last fires, did they include 4WDs, helicopters and Sky crane?
    The fire at Caloundra with 100 firefighters raises many issues. A fire at Daisy Hill this week could have blown through to Shorelines , jumping paddocks and firebreaks and burning forests.

  2. Agree with Tracy’s advice to Cr Talty to focus on road and traffic safety. Resident driving from Mt Cotton a.m. rush hour to Cleveland witnessed road rage which can increase as traffic increases with growth. Finucane Rd Capalaba traffic is bumper to bumper from 4-way intersection in the a.m. with motorists leaving Redlands for work, that winds around Windemere Rd Alexandra Hills at which, this week saw another crash, 2nd within past weeks, many near misses….people everywhere are complaining about congestion. Our suburban roads are not meant for the kind of vehicles we see today where in recent times a semi-trailer struck a small car stopped at 4-way traffic lights cnr Finucane/Old Cleveland Rd/Moreton Bay Rds Capalaba unable to brake in time to save the life of a young 25 yr old young woman when roof was sheared off on impact along with decapitating the driver. Living nearby I am seeing more semi-trailers and other monstrous vehicles on local roads that belong on super highways It’s time our local government heavyweights focused on pressuring infrastructure minister Jackie Trad to alleviate an increasing traffic nightmare and help prevent further deaths as I, for one, am saddened on seeing floral arrangements on roadsides I drive by each day.

  3. I would suggest that in this case the businesses that Ms Talty represents perhaps should pay for the infrastructure required to facilitate a Rural Fire Service, it is very clear that the faceless few are concerned with risk to their properties.
    There is EH&S infrastructure required that is far more important that needs to be set in place in Mt Cotton that Ms Talty should be focusing on. Historically this focus has been poor and required adjudication to facilitate compliance with the respective State and Federal legislation.
    State Govt. infrastructure has been surrounded by heavy scrub and bush for decades, not to mention Redlands Hospital and I am sure if the State Govt. felt there was an excessive risk they would have set place a Rural style Fire Service earlier in the piece.
    Ms Talty using Redland Hospital as an example that justifies such a service is poor form.
    Ms Talty you need to focus on infrastructure that Mt Cotton Residents have asked you to support towards road and traffic safety considering you are wishing to secure a seat in the State Govt.

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