Hike funding

The fires are in desperate need of funding – Central Queensland Today

Bog holes and rough surfaces impede access for rural fires and disaster emergency services

Rural firefighters and emergency services are concerned that the lack of federal commitment to strategic funding of the road network and fire mitigation trails will leave rural communities more at risk.

Rural Brigade 1st Officer and Capricorn Coast Bushfire Support Group Chairman John Macdonald said the failure of the Federal Government to allocate specific funding for strategic mitigation infrastructure of firefighting roads and trails puts rural communities in the regions at even greater risk in upcoming fire seasons.

“We were hoping, following a recent roundtable with federal Minister of Emergency Management and National Recovery Bridget McKenzie and MP Michelle Landry, that this situation could be resolved,” Macdonald said.

“The Minister and Michelle have indicated that they will discuss with Barnaby Joyce a possible campaign commitment of National Party regional infrastructure funding.

“Unfortunately, despite representations to both major parties, as polling day approaches, pre-election engagement by either major party now seems unlikely.

“Brigade members are increasingly disappointed with repeated requests for essential improvements to firefighting roads and trails that are being ignored.

“After the Cobraball fires, the Livingstone Shire Council brought the brigades together to identify strategic roads and firefighting trail upgrades where future federal funding could be directed.

“The latest round of Black Summer Grants again brought our problems into sharper focus when only $115,000 of the $4.5 million in federal funding allocated to the Livingstone Shire Council was spent on mitigation infrastructure applications. rural firefighters.

“It would appear that the commitments made and the lessons learned from the bushfires of the black summer of 2019 have been forgotten by both the current federal government and our local government with respect to specific funding for strategic infrastructure of fire mitigation.

Former local disaster management group chairman Bill Ludwig said rural communities would again pay a high price for the continued lack of specific federal funding for the establishment of dedicated strategic networks of roads and trails. firefighting to mitigate the growing risk of major fires.

“The Cobraball firestorm and major fires that threatened Gracemere and The Caves were wake-up calls for what our region will face in the future,” Mr. Ludwig said.

“It is incomprehensible that federal, state and local governments are not collectively investing greater levels of funding in mitigation infrastructure now before the next major disaster strikes,” Ludwig said.

“Rural firefighters are community volunteers who know what is needed and put their lives on the line for our rural communities. They need and deserve better support from all levels of government to keep rural communities safe.