Rural fireys funds cut ahead of worst fire season
THE MINISTER for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford has hit back at the LNP after they said his government made cuts to the Rural Fire Brigades.
He said LNP were up to their usual tricks by misleading and trying to scare Queenslanders.
"Their claim of funding cuts to Rural Fire Brigades proves the LNP has grabbed the wrong end of the fire hose, again," Mr Crawford said.
"In fact, the Palaszczuk Government has fast-tracked the delivery of new lifesaving equipment for rural brigades who found themselves on the pointy end of the LNP's infamous cuts.
"Since coming to office, the Palaszczuk Government has delivered 332 new appliances to Rural Fire Brigades as part of our commitment to rebuilding Queensland's frontline services.
Mr Crawford said that was an average of 58 new trucks every single year, compared with the LNP's record of just 81 vehicles for the entire three years they were in power.
Aside from the spending on trucks and capital works, the $40.8 million in current funding for Rural Fire Services is still 11 per cent higher than the LNP's last Budget.
Although, Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said they had made drastic cuts to the annual budget in comparison to last year.
"Craig Crawford can spin it anyway he likes, the fact is the Palaszczuk Labor Government have cut the budget for rural fireys by $13 million from last year," Ms Frecklington said.
"This is at a time when the South Burnett and in fact the whole of Queensland are facing one of our worst bushfire seasons on record.
"Rural fireys are a frontline service that protects our communities and properties from bushfires," she said.
Last financial year the budget was $52,005,000, but dropped to $40,839,000 for 2018/2019.
Ms Frecklington said the budgets should be increased and rural fireys needed more support to help them to keep doing their amazing work in communities across Queensland.
"If Craig Crawford can't do his job and secure more funding then he shouldn't be around the Cabinet table.
"Annastacia Palaszczuk needs to come clean and justify why these cuts were approved," she said.
Mr Crawford said his government was also investing an unprecedented $7 million on aerial operations to add another dimension to our state's firefighting capacity.
"Being a Far North Queensland resident, it's becoming increasingly obvious to me that the LNP just doesn't have a clue about the regions or the safety of Queenslanders," he said.