Member for Oodgeroo, Mark Robinson, speaking from North Stradbroke Island, said he was extremely grateful to the many teams of firefighters and volunteers who have played such a crucial role over the last few days in keeping the island communities safe.
“The firefighters are real heros. They deserve our thanks for their dedication and tireless efforts in often difficult circumstances,” he said.
Given Straddie’s history with large and extremely dangerous fires, Dr Robinson said he questioned the decision taken by the government earlier this year to cut back vital fire resources on the island.
“At the time, Labor’s decision to transfer Straddie’s only full-time resident 24/7 Fire Officer, Bill Ewing, from North Stradbroke Island and replace him with an office hours only Officer who lives off the island caused a great uproar and much concern among local Straddie residents,” Dr Robinson said.
“It is completely unacceptable to local residents that Bill Ewing’s replacement is only available 8.00am to 4.00pm.
“For the Palaszczuk Government to leave the safety of 2,200 local island residents, with numbers swelling by thousands more in peak holiday times, totally in the hands of the after-hours weather gods is not only shameful but totally irresponsible.
“Not only do we need to pray for rain, but also that all future fires won’t start afterhours.
“While volunteer Auxiliary fire fighters do their job well, they cannot take up the slack left by Labor’s fire-fighting cuts.
“The Premier acknowledged the firefighters on Straddie today, but she needs to go one step further,” Dr Robinson said.
“I call on her to apologise to local residents for cutting fire resources on Straddie and to reverse her government’s cuts so that residents can breathe a little easier – day and night.”