by Jim O’Toole, Townsville bureau
More than 17,000 volunteer rural fire fighters have refused to apply for a working with children blue card defying a request from Queensland Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford.
The volunteers say they are not health workers, don’t work with children and are not interested in Labor ‘s nanny state foibles.
Furthermore it can be revealed that the majority of rural volunteers have no agreement or binding work contract with Fire and Emergency Services.
A volunteer told Cairnsnews the Minister was served with a notice to provide a copy of any work agreement between the department and a volunteer but was unable to do so.
He said the QFES, holding an ABN 93 035 163 778 , as a corporation has no lawful authority over unpaid volunteers.
This is why the federal and state governments are enticing volunteers to claim payments after which the government could exercise some form of control.
Fortunately the majority of volunteers are a wake up to the dodgy Queensland Government. They joined as volunteers and have no expectation of remuneration.
Minister Crawford and Assistant Commissioner Terry Bolger now find themselves in a terrible bind with Bolger this week telling the ABC volunteers must apply for a blue card and in doing so sign an application to join the QFES.
The dangerous fire-fighting policies being forced upon volunteers by the QFES contradicts years of rural fire methodology.
One fireground policy the QFES has tried to enforce is for volunteers to contact an authorised QFES officer before back burning. Such a direction is totally impractical and dangerous by taking authority from a firefighter in the face of an out of control fire.
The 17,000 volunteers are much smarter than these QFES desk jockeys and thankfully the Victorian refugee Craig Crawford will lose his seat at the state election due by October.
The hijacking of the Rural Fire Service has no merit at law and volunteers are right to tell the QFES corporation to “bugger off”.
Although a regular party goer the pressure from recalcitrant volunteers obviously got to Mr Crawford when he signed himself in for alcohol rehabilitation in November in the middle of a dangerous fire season.
Cairnsnews has received information from several whistleblowers about the conduct of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services from an operational and administrative perspective. The Minister for Fire and Emergency Services has been blamed for dangerous administrative and operational failures. If you are a rural or urban firefighter then tell Cairnsnews your story, anonymously, without identification. Use this encryption link from the Australian Patriot Radio page: https://www.australianpatriotradio.com/contact-us/encrypted-email/
Letter to the Editor
I am writing to you seeking your support for the volunteers of the Queensland Rural Fire Brigades.
The State Government has slashed 13 million dollars from the Rural Fire budget for this financial year.
I have lodged an e-petition to the Parliament requesting the Government increase support for our Rural Fire volunteers by providing more equipment and resources to our Rural brigades, to counter the predicted increase in bushfires.
If you could log onto the Parliamentary e-petition web site
and add your name to the petition, it would be greatly appreciated.
Also, Please forward this message to all your friends and relatives, the safety of our volunteers and rural communities depend on the Government getting our message
Terry Gordon. Secretary Gordonbrook Rural Fire Brigade.
The Qld ALP state government in spite of the nonsense spruiked by the Premier on every recent TV bulletin about ‘unprecedented’ bushfires and how good is the RFS, does not like the RFS as witnessed by the urban brigades’ takeover. It has stalled because Annastacia is set to sack more than 11,000 RFS volunteers for refusing to apply for a working with children blue card. She does not have the lawful authority, according to the best legal advice, to enforce anything upon volunteers. There are no contractual agreements between the ‘State Government’ and individual volunteers.
-Jim O’Toole, Editor