14 rural fire service volunteer crews rallied outside of Anne Maddern's office.
14 rural fire service volunteer crews rallied outside of Anne Maddern's office. Hannah Busch

Rural fire volunteers rally

RURAL fire service volunteers were escorted through the streets of Maryborough as they protested against public service job cuts.

About 14 crews from across the region gathered outside MP Anne Maddern's office to rally against the confusion on whether the Maryborough Regional and District office of the Rural Fire Service would be closed.

The State Government announced in last week's budget that the office, which has nine paid staff, would close next March.

Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey said he would not approve the closure, recommended by the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, until he was satisfied it was in the best interest of all parties.

First officer, of the Sandy Straits Rural Fire Crew, Kahu Helleur labelled the announcement from Mr Dempsey as "smoke and mirrors".

"They're talking about us but not actually talking to us," she said.

"We want some answers.

"We want some clarity."

Volunteer community educator co-ordinator Rob Haigh said while the nine office staff were labelled as non-frontline, they co-ordinated food, equipment and communication for the volunteers that were often called straight from their work to a fire.

He said the ability to both manage their responsibilities and attract new volunteers would be impacted if the minister did eventually approve the closure of the office.

The Maryborough District Office manages more than 70 rural fire crews.

MP Anne Maddern was not at her office yesterday afternoon to meet with the rural fire crews.



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