State Member for Redlands Matt McEachan continues to back Mt Cotton and Sheldon locals in their push to form a Rural Fire Brigade.
In a speech to Parliament this week Mr. McEachan called on the Labor State Government to support the community’s efforts to protect themselves against bushfire risk and stop cow towing to the Unions.
Mr. McEachan slammed the United Firefighters Union for disrespecting the will of locals. The union thinks this a turf war and are at odds with the community over forming the Rural Fire Brigade. The United Fire Fighters Union has form, recently the UFU tried to stop volunteer firefighters from being eligible for the same compensation for cancers as urban firefighters. The Victorian arm of the union also banned its members from participating in a post-traumatic disorder trial, simply because volunteer firefighters were involved.
Mr. McEachan said that he hoped Minister Byrne would not allow union bullying to override common sense in backing community calls for a Rural Fire Brigade in the area.
“Mt Cotton and Sheldon are considered very high bush fire risk and each week of delay by Labor puts the community at more risk."
Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland, General Manager, Justin Choveaux supported Mr. McEachan’s calls for cooperation.
“Over 93% of Queensland is defended by volunteer firefighters who are members of their local Rural Fire Brigade. In the Mt Cotton/Sheldon area, a Rural Fire Brigade would allow for a greater community defence capacity by increasing the response capability locally not only to fire response, but to cyclone and storm recovery,” said Mr. Choveaux.
“A community based brigade will also assist landowners managing their land through the use of fire and reduce the risk of a major bushfire.
“Having a Rural Fire Brigade and Fire & Rescue station in an area is not a competition, it’s about complementing each other's skills to provide a safe community,” he said.