BURNING ISSUE: Many rural firefighters are threatening to quit over the Blue Card dispute with the Queensland Government.
BURNING ISSUE: Many rural firefighters are threatening to quit over the Blue Card dispute with the Queensland Government.

‘It’s not hard’: Blue Card controversy continues

ALMOST 5000 rural firefighters will be stood down for not complying with the State Government’s requirement of holding a Blue Card.

Sugarloaf Rural Fire Brigade First Officer James Massey said he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

“If you have nothing to hide then there should be no problem with filling out a Blue Card form,” Mr Massey said.

Stanthorpe Group Officer Pedro Curr with Sugarloaf Rural Fire Brigade First Officer James Massey.
Stanthorpe Group Officer Pedro Curr with Sugarloaf Rural Fire Brigade First Officer James Massey.

“It is all paid for and the form will take you 10 minutes to complete.

“It’s not a hard thing to do,” he said.

In a job that is extremely unpredictable, Mr Massey said you never knew when the card would come in handy.

“This is all for the safety of children because you might have to come in contact with them at any time on the job.

“If you don’t have (a Blue Card) you can simply not be in this field,” he said.

The Queensland Government’s decision to enforce Rural Firefighter Service volunteers to apply for Blue Cards has enraged brigade members across the state.

The 33,000 members of the Queensland Fire and Emergency services were asked to apply for Blue Cards if they wished to continue in their roles beyond April 2020.

After pushing back the deadline several times over the past year, Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford has backed away from enforcing his March 31 deadline, citing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“QFES personnel who didn’t apply for a Blue Card by the deadline date of March 31 this year received a letter late last month advising them they’d be unable to continue their duties without one.”

The State Government said there would be no changes in this decision, something LNP shadow minister for fire and emergency services Lachlan Millar wasn’t too impressed by.

He said instead of respecting and valuing the region’s volunteers that defend the rural communities, the Labor government continued to hold them in limbo.

“Nearly 5000 fireys were set to get the sack and now they should be urgently reinstated ahead of the upcoming bushfire season to ensure our communities are protected,” Mr Millar said.

“The reason why the sacking of thousands of rural fire volunteers was delayed until after the fire season was that entire communities and brigades had been left unmanned under the botched rollout.

“Having a situation where there would have been towns and communities without functioning rural fire brigades is unforgivable.”

Stanthorpe Border Post

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