Money moves but brigades run dry

UNDER PRESSURE: Some rural fire brigades are feeling the pinch due to cutbacks in QFRS staffing levels.
UNDER PRESSURE: Some rural fire brigades are feeling the pinch due to cutbacks in QFRS staffing levels. Contributed

A GATTON rural fire brigade group officer has moved to highlight the consequences of shortages in the fire service as some local brigades run out of funds.

Gatton group officer David Brettell said systems in place and shortages of QFRS staff had created bottlenecks in the releasing of fire levy funds to some Lockyer Valley brigades.

"I was running out of options to get money to local brigades to pay their bills," he said.

Mr Brettell said the problem arose after a new local area finance committee was formed to draft a distribution plan for the fire service levy.

"The public need to know that the new system is not as efficient as promised at this stage," he said.

LVRC Mayor Steve Jones said he was bitterly disappointed to hear rumours circulating that the council was withholding money from local Rural Fire Service brigades.

"Under instruction from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, money is released to a nominated bank account where it was distributed to local brigades," he said.

Cr Jones said the council used to release money directly to each brigade, but under a new agreement with the QFRS, money is now sent to a central bank account where it is disbursed among local brigades.

"Over the past 18 months, more than a quarter of a million dollars has been transferred to QFRS from Council," he said.

QFRS area director rural operations Kaye Healing said local government had been more than supportive of local brigades by collecting the fire service levy and moved to allay fears in the community, brigades would not have the resources to attend fires.

"100% of the levies collected go to the brigades," she said.

"The QFRS will not see a state arise where a brigade cannot put a truck on the road."

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