CODE 2, VOL 34, NO 56 : 26 october 2020
MINISTER ANNOUNCES BIGGEST INCREASE IN FIREFIGHTER NUMBERS IN QLD HISTORY!
357 MORE FIREYS:
For three years, your union has been working hard to obtain funding for a further increase in full-time professional firefighter numbers, including by conducting a 12 month long public campaign. I am very pleased to report that Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mr Craig Crawford has today made an announcement that the government has fully funded the recruitment of an additional 357 professional full-time firefighters in addition to the existing numbers.
This will be the most significant increase in professional firefighter numbers since 1925.
This comes on the back of the 147 new firefighters already employed since 2017, following the Palaszczuk government honouring the commitments made during the previous state election campaign in November 2017.
The best bit about this announcement is that it is not an election commitment, it is an announcement of a fully funded decision by the state government and the addition of 357 professional full-time firefighters will therefore take place regardless of which party forms the next state government after the 31 October state election.
This significant increase will be an important step in your union’s goal to achieve safe and full crewing at every work location. Final details on where the first few batches of new recruits are placed through mid-2021 will be discussed between your union and QFRS. Your union will be involved in all placement decisions to ensure the work locations with the highest needs are addressed first.
I take this opportunity on behalf of all members to thank Minister Crawford and the Palaszczuk state government for their commitment to professional firefighting in Queensland and for this historic announcement, which will result in professional firefighting numbers increasing by over 500 across the period 2018-2025.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT IS FULLY FUNDED:
The specifics of the funding are that approximately $15m must be found internally by QFES. On top of the $15m QFES are self-funding, the state government has provided additional funding from Queensland treasury of over $86m in the next 4 years.
RECRUITMENT OF THE EXTRAS TO BEGIN IN 2021:
The recruitment of the additional firefighters will commence in early 2021, with SFEST already preparing to increase the number of recruit courses it runs every year for the next 4 years. Your union is in discussions with SFEST about how to make this work smoothly.
I again thank the state government and in particular Minister Crawford and the Premier for this historic increase in professional firefighter numbers in Queensland.
John Oliver - General Secretary
Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD