A Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) map shows that the State Government intends on expanding the Toowoomba Levy District to include a further 6,456 properties, effectively wiping out Murphy’s Creek, Withcott and Upper Flagstone Creek Rural Fire Brigades.
LNP Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald and LNP Member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki – have questioned the motivation and agreed that this is totally unacceptable.
Mr McDonald said, “Our Rural Fire Brigades do a great job and are a vital service to our community, ensuring the safety of residents. They should be supported, not threatened by a State Government who has got its priorities wrong.”
Mr Janetzki said, “This is a money grab. The increased levy costs are three times higher than the existing rural fire levy incurred by residents.”
Shadow Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Lachlan Millar said he was very concerned if Queenslanders were being asked to pay more for fire services without a proper explanation or justification.“Just this week we have seen Labor’s plans to strip the Rural Fire Service and SES Assistant Commissioner of their responsibilities and influence within the department, as well as absorbing specific rural fire budgets into QFES regional budgets**,” Mr Millar said.
“Queenslanders deserve access to both well-resourced and supported rural and urban fire services.
“Labor should not be playing politics and picking winners.”
Mr McDonald, who represents the threated Rural Brigade areas, wants a rock-solid guarantee from the Minister that our brigades of Withcott, Murphy’s Creek and Upper Flagstone Creek will remain with continued authority and be funded to the same level.
LNP member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki said that Labor Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford needed to come clean on his plans for the Toowoomba region.
“Our rural fire services already offer a first-class service to residents,” said Mr Janetzki.
“Every dollar contributed locally through our rural fire levies goes straight back into supporting our local rural fire brigades.
“What we don’t want to see is an unnecessary increase in urban fire levy payers just to increase the size of the bucket to make up for Labor’s inability to manage a budget.