7 April 2024

Aurukun brigade calls out for more rural fire volunteers

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Aurukun rural fire volunteers

Aurukun Rural Fire Service members are urging fellow residents to get involved to boost volunteer numbers in the western Cape York community. Photo: Supplied.

Following Minister for Fire and Disaster Recovery Nikki Boyd’s assurance funds raised by rural fire brigades will continue to be solely used locally, Aurukun’s first officer is calling for a boost to the western Cape York brigade’s most valuable resource: volunteers.

Legislative changes introduced on 7 March, 2024 established the Rural Fire Service Queensland and Queensland Fire and Rescue as separate and dedicated fire services, with both to have dedicated budgets.

Minister Boyd said efforts from rural fire services volunteers were invaluable in ensuring the safety of Queensland communities, and that the change was more so focused on transparency around how public funds were managed.

“The policy framework will make it clear that local assets like trucks and local funds will continue to solely benefit those local fire brigades and be accesses by local brigades for local purposes,” Minister Boyd said.

“Volunteers do such a great job in raising funds.

“Local fundraising will continue to be an important part of how local brigades work and that’s why it’s important local funds remain available for local brigades.”

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Aurukun Rural Fire Service first officer Tim White said service to a brigade’s local community was always a significant factor in fundraising efforts.

“People are exercising goodwill to donate money for the purpose of providing an enhanced capability for their district and their regions to be protected by the resources they’ve donated with their hard-earned money,” Mr White said.

“Sporting clubs don’t raise funds so that [another] football club can get new jerseys.

“It’s generally around a targeted resource that people are motivated to raise that money for; it might be a new fire truck, it might be a new chainsaw.”

Mr White, however, said the Aurukun brigade was well-resourced, with the brigade’s main concern being volunteer numbers to utilise those resources in an emergency situation.

“Our priority is certainly around membership, and encouraging people to come in and assist with the fire management of the local areas,” he said.

“It’s great to have new chainsaws, but those chainsaws can’t be used if you don’t have volunteer members.

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Mr White said Aurukun currently had a solid group of volunteers and was looking to build on that.

“I think right at the moment, we’ve got some good numbers and probably the best numbers that we’ve ever had in terms of volunteers coming in from the community,” he said.

“What’s most important for our sustainability is that we’re building these local member numbers, and that’s what we’re particularly looking at now.”

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