[singlepic id=447 w=320 h=240 float=left] Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt says the three Far North Queensland LNP MPs need to explain how the Queensland Rural Fire Service will continue to protect Far North Queenslanders after announcing district office closures and mass sackings across Queensland.

Mr Pitt said the Member for Cairns Gavin King, Member for Barron River Michael Trout and the Member for Cook David Kempton specifically need to explain how Far North Queensland will be protected when both Innisfail and Cairns District Offices are closed.

“These two rural fire office closures will leave the entire Far North vulnerable to bushfires are another blow for the Far North at the hands of the LNP,” Mr Pitt said.

“At a state-wide level, reports of 45 of the 79 uniformed staff and 56 of the 117 support staff being axed next year is very alarming and runs the risk of putting at risk property and lives, including those of volunteer fire fighters.

“We have all heard the warnings about the dangers of the up-coming fire season. Conditions point to a testing season, with fuel loads high after two wet seasons and a dry winter.

“Mr King needs to explain why he is so confident that the same dangerous conditions won’t exist next year or the year after and in future years.

“He needs to explain why reducing professional staff won’t put family homes, farms, business premises and lives at risk.

“Mr King and the LNP Government has failed to acknowledge the vital service rural firies perform and have again axed a frontline service.

“Those being sacked help train the volunteer force to fight fires across the state making this announcement a massive blow to morale, rippling right across Queensland.

“The Rural Fire Service is responsible for 93% of the state and comprises more than 34,000 volunteers.

“This is a slap in the face for rural firies in Far North Queensland who every year perform courageous acts all over Queensland with little recognition,” he said.

Mr Pitt said the Minister might consider reductions in training standards or the removal of educational officer’s part of his commitment to reduce red tape.

“The LNP might also view the implementation of recommendations, such as those that come from the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, as just another piece of red tape.

“Many Queenslanders would be very alarmed that the LNP Government are scrapping recommendations from the Royal Commission into Black Saturday.”