Minister backflips on fire cuts
UPDATE: MINISTER for Police and Community Safety Jack Dempsey says he was the victim of "a case of premature circulation" after the widespread condemnation over planned cuts to the rural fire service.
Earlier in the week, it was announced that 11 rural fire service offices across the state would be closed including the Toowoomba regional and Roma district offices.
Plans to reduce the number of uniformed positions across the state by 57 per cent was also announced.
Six uniformed positions in Toowoomba were earmarked to be cut including those of highly-respected rural operation manager Wayne Waltisbuhl and community liaison officer Di Warr.
However, in an extraordinary back flip, Mr Dempsey said he had not approved the release of a new organisational chart sent out across the state to its members by the Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland.
"I have not approved the organisational chart released to members on Wednesday and will not until I am satisfied that it is in the best interests of all parties," he said.
"In the meantime, I regret any confusion and uncertainty this premature release may have caused," he said.
Sacked worker told they are "surplus to requirements"
A LONGSTANDING employee with the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service has been told she is "now considered surplus to the department's staffing requirements".
Di Warr, a community liaison officer based in Toowoomba, was among the 55 people to be sacked from the department as part of the State Government's cuts to the public service sector.
Up to 45 Queensland Rural Fire Service officers and 15 administrative workers will lose their jobs early next year.
In an email sent to her media contacts, Ms Warr expressed her disappointment at her sacking and thanked those with who she had worked over the years.
"I take this opportunity to thank you all for the ongoing support you have given me, both in a work capacity and on a personal level over the past nine years," she wrote.
Shadow Emergency Services Minister Bill Byrne has slammed Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey, calling on him to explain how the fire service can continue to protect Queensland.
"We have all heard the warnings about the dangers of the up-coming fire season. Conditions point to a testing season, with fuel loads high after two wet seasons and a dry winter," he said.
"Mr Dempsey needs to explain why he is so confident that the same dangerous conditions won't exist next year or the year after and in future years.
"He needs to explain why reducing professional staff won't put family homes, farms, business premises and lives at risk."
Meanwhile, an e-petition has been launched to protest cuts to Queensland's fire service. Sign the petition at communityrun.org/petitions/save-rural-operations.