The Queensland Rural Fire Service in action.
The Queensland Rural Fire Service in action. Dominic Elsome

We owe them more than a debt of gratitude


Hi Readers, as Queensland braces itself for ongoing extreme dangers from increased bushfire risks, we still have the bizarre situation where we expect our 36,000 rural firefighting volunteers to drop everything to protect our communities.

Many of these people will risk their lives and probably suffer economic loss through their sacrifice.

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HOMES DESTROYED: Dangerous fire continues to threaten Applethorpe

Yet they get no compensation from the State Government.

What if all 36,000 volunteers had to fight fires for a week. That would be extremely unlikely but just say they were paid $2000 each for their dedication.

That would cost the State an extra $72 million out of a current $95.5 billion total budget spend.

Cut that down to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Budget which is $740 million. Of this amount, $50 million is being invested in new and replacement Rural Fire Brigade and Fire and Rescue service equipped vehicles.

The equipment upgrade is good to see, but shouldn't the more precious human resource also be recognised as something worth investing in?

I pray that we don't face another dire emergency like we did in November last year when Gracemere was evacuated. That was the scariest day I have experienced in my 20 years in this region.

Lessons learned from Gracemere bushfires

'Never seen before': CQ stared down threat of a firestorm

The catastrophic fire rating was absolutely correct as 80km/h winds and 45 degree heat fanned already seriously large bushfires. This was an extremely dangerous situation for thousands of people as the out-of-control fire threatened communities. We owe an enormous debt to the firefighters who put themselves in harm's way. Maybe they deserve some cash too.

Frazer Pearce

Editor, The Morning Bulletin.