FIRE BATTLE: The Caves Rural Fire Service firefighter Anthony Carter shared these photos of the blaze burning at Old Byfield Rd, Cobraball, earlier this month.
FIRE BATTLE: The Caves Rural Fire Service firefighter Anthony Carter shared these photos of the blaze burning at Old Byfield Rd, Cobraball, earlier this month.

‘Turf war’ between rural fireys and QFES

CONCERNS that rural fire-fighters battling the recent Capricorn Coast bushfires were denied permission to backburn as they attempted to control the blaze, have been raised in state parliament.

On Wednesday North Queensland First leader Jason Costigan asked Labor's Minister for Emergency Services Craig Crawford if local volunteer fireys were overruled by someone high up in the department he administers.

Speaking after tabling a question on notice in parliament, Mr Costigan told The Morning Bulletin that he had been tipped off by sources within the rural fire brigade community that a paid officer of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services had rejected the wishes of a rural firefighter battling the blaze near Yeppoon, which destroyed 15 homes and 41 structures.

"What I have been told is absolutely outrageous and hence I have asked the Minister in parliament and I look forward to the response, as will all volunteer rural firefighters not only around Central Queensland but right across the state," he said.

"My sources tell me we basically had someone high up in QFES over-ruling the decision-making of a very experienced volunteer rural firefighter on the ground - a classic example of someone from the red trucks muscling up on someone from the yellow trucks.

"Essentially, we're taking about a turf war here, all this unfolding when people were losing property and in some parts of the country, people losing their lives.

"It really beggars belief but then again, so does Labor's planned introduction of compulsory blue cards for our volunteer rural fireys."

Mr Crawford has a month to respond to Mr Costigan's question on notice, but due to the Christmas shutdown period, he has until January 6.


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