Rural firefighters have welcomed the announcement that the Maryborough offices will not close.
Rural firefighters have welcomed the announcement that the Maryborough offices will not close. Robyne Cuerel

Rural fire backtrack welcome

RURAL fire service volunteers on the Fraser Coast have welcomed the announcement that support offices in Maryborough will remain open.

The region office and the area office in Maryborough, which cover administration and other responsibilities for more than 70 crews, were expected to close as part of more than 14,000 public service job cuts.

Earlier this week, Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey announced all offices would remain open but said there would still be job cuts at the offices.

Rural Fire Service volunteer community educator co-ordinator Robert Haigh was one of more than 100 volunteers who gathered outside MP Anne Maddern's office in Maryborough earlier this week to protest the proposed closures.

He said the announcement was a step in the right direction, but volunteers were still unsure what it would mean for the region.

"Most people are still trying to get their head around it," he said.

"There is still the review to be had," he said.

"The final outcome is still to come."

The Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland president Mike Garrahy said the change would assure certainty for crews going into the worst bushfire season in more than 40 years.

He also said the association would work closely with MP Ted Malone on a newly announced ministerial review into the rural fire service.

"The RFBAQ supports this ministerial imitative and believes that this puts rural fire brigades on track for achieving a model that empowers brigades to defend their communities not only from fire, but also flood and cyclone," he said.

The two Maryborough rural fire brigades offices employ six full-time and three part-time employees.



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