CODE 2, VOL 34, NO 44 : 01 september 2020
UFUQ PUSH FOR 350 MORE FIREFIGHTERS – (PART 1 of 2)
Why has your union asked for immediate funding for an additional 350 professional firefighters (including the requisite number of fire communication officers)?
The simplest answer is that 350 firefighters are urgently needed to cover the current business as usual demands, let alone the oncoming bushfire, storm, flood and cyclone seasons, which will no doubt result in multiple deployments across the state.
HOW DO WE COMPARE?
Here are some of the recent statistics reported to the federal government by each jurisdictional government, that support your union’s claim.
1. In the 18/19 financial year (FY), both NSW and Victoria had double the total funding for the equivalent service response (NSW $1336m, Vic $1481m and Qld $708m), with NSW obtaining 5 times as much government funding and Victoria receiving 8 times the government funding than Queensland did in that year.
2. In 2010, the National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (see link below) did some modelling on the numbers of professional firefighters that Australian jurisdictions ought to have to face BAU and natural disaster challenges by 2020.
That modelling suggested that by 2020 -
Victoria would need to have 3131 professional firefighters (18/19 FY actual = 4581), and
NSW would need to have 4424 professional firefighters (18/19 FY actual = 4262).
The modelling suggested Queensland would need 3202, but as you well know, 18/19 FY actual = 2297.
3. And finally, in the 18/19 FY, the average number of professional full-time firefighters per 100000 population was, 50% higher in Victoria (75.2) and 33% higher in NSW (67.8), than in Queensland (50.2).
I can’t think of a clearer picture than this that demonstrates that we are constantly underfunded and being required to do more, with less.
Perhaps a complete dismantling of the whole One QFES structure is the only solution? Send every part of the agency back to where it came from.
I will keep you updated on our ask and what the government, QFRS and One QFES do to address the desperate need.
To read the NEIIR report, please click here.
John Oliver - General Secretary
Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD