A smouldering log was investigated at Wondai.
A smouldering log was investigated at Wondai. Bev Lacey

Bullying and harassment 'systemic' in Qld fire service

THE Queensland fire commission has taken "an early retirement" after a government review found a systemic culture of bullying and harassment in the fire service.

Premier Campbell Newman said he had been shocked to read the independent review, released on Friday morning, which he said revealed a culture akin to the Queensland police force in the early 1990s and the Australian Defence Force before recent reforms.

"Let us be clear: this report is damning of the services's culture and its failure to establish and nurture a workplace that accepts and respects women," the Premier said.

"It is unacceptable, and there will be systemic change to fix this."

Mr Newman said fire commissioner Lee Johnson would retire early - and commenced pre-retirement leave today.

In a statement Mr Johnson said the revelations were "alien" to him and "do not reflect the type of service that I have sought to build during (his) career".

"Earlier today the Premier released the findings of a report into allegations of inappropriate sexist behaviour within QFES," he said.

"Like the Premier I am shocked and appalled at some of the findings.

"Whilst I believe the vast majority of staff and volunteers always uphold our core values and treat each other with dignity and respect, this report's findings indicate this is not always the case."

However, Mr Newman said he did not have confidence in Mr Johnson understanding of the report.

"I did not have confidence the outgoing commissioner understood the gravity of the situation," he said.

"This is not about just a few bad apples. This is about a work place culture right through the organisation that doesn't understand the norms of 2014 are."

Mr Newman named assistance police commissioner Katarina Carroll, who lead G20 security operations, will take over as interim fire commissioner. She will outline her plans to reform the fire service in January.


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