Hundreds of fireys ‘desperately needed’ now

QUEENSLAND has a "desperate shortage" of firefighters to cope with the upcoming bushfire season.

And 350 firefighters must be immediately employed, according to the state's firefighting union.

In a submission to the parliament, United Firefighter Union Queensland secretary John Oliver said the State Government needed to use its COVID-19-related funding for an immediate uptake of firefighters, or risk a catastrophe this summer.

"There is an immediate need for a significant increase in the number of full-time professional firefighters (and a requisite lift in the numbers of fire communication officers) in Queensland," Mr Oliver said.

Firefighters on the scene at an out-of-control bushfire at Peregian Beach last year. Picture: Lachie Millard
Firefighters on the scene at an out-of-control bushfire at Peregian Beach last year. Picture: Lachie Millard

"In short, the Queensland Government's COVID-19 response efforts are, without doubt, at risk of being significantly hampered by what is clearly a trend of natural disasters increasing in both frequency and intensity."

The UFUQ has called on approximately $100 million to be spent on "regional and urban QFRS stations and other necessary infrastructure, such as fire appliances".

A QFES spokesman said existing staffing levels were "sufficient to maintain an effective fire and emergency service response to the community".

"QFES currently maintains a roster of 4065 permanent and auxiliary Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) firefighters, in addition to the more than 30,000 Rural Fire Service (RFS) and State Emergency Service (SES) personnel," the spokesman said.

Originally published as Hundreds of fireys 'desperately needed' now


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