Steve Me
Steve Me

Firies need more staff: Meredith

THE Queensland Government yesterday dismissed union and political claims of dangerous understaffing at Gympie fire station.

Labor candidate for Gympie, Stephen Meredith said Gympie Station was "grossly understaffed, with some shifts operating below accepted safe staffing levels".

Mr Meredith said Gympie region's section of the Bruce Hwy "has been notorious as one of the worst stretches of highway in Australia for many years".

"We need to ensure our Emergency Response Services are sufficiently staffed and equipped for this challenging task."

Anything less, he said was putting both the community generally and the lives and wellbeing of emergency response teams at risk.

A spokesman for Fire and Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey said the government had done its part by delivering "a record half-billion-dollar budget for the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service and that ensures all staffing requirements are adequately met."

Commissioner Lee Johnson said the department had carried out this requirement, providing "a world class response capability".

"QFES has been working closely with the Queensland Police Service in preparation for G20," he said, adding that emergency workers are well prepared for any special requirements this may raise, in addition to any emergencies elsewhere.

"In relation to the heightened security alert, QFES is confident that if there was a major incident, not just limited to G20, that there are sufficient resources and plans in place to respond as required.

"With regards to normal crewing levels on a day-to-day basis, QFES is committed to ensuring appropriate rostering and has a significant overtime budget and sufficient staff to roster optimal crewing. QFES does fully roster appliances, maintains high response time standards and our firefighters demonstrate excellence in delivering an all hazards response.

"There are a number of procedures in place which provide greater flexibility for QFES to manage excessive unplanned absences of staff, including redeployment of staff from special appliances and the use of temporary firefighters."

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