Queensland experienced one of the worst early bushfire seasons in history. The 2019-20 bushfires burned hundreds of thousands hectares and destroyed dozens of homes. Meanwhile our fire services are overworked and struggling with under-resourcing.
The Greens will establish a Protecting Queenslanders Levy on all major coal and gas corporations operating in Queensland to fund a massive investment in the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and the Rural Fire Service Queensland (RFSQ). Big fossil fuel corporations have created this mess and they should pay to help protect Queenslanders from the consequences.
The Greens will:
- Hire 1,400 new full time equivalent paid firefighters to bring Queensland up to NSW levels of 3,500 firefighters and increase funding for equipment, at a cost of $390 million over three years.
- Invest an extra $75 million over three years in the Rural Fire Service. This would include increasing capital grants funding for RFS brigades from $185,000 to $5 million every year.
- Create a permanent aerial firefighting fleet in Queensland by investing $200 million to purchase and operate firefighting aircraft, including large air tankers.
- Invest an extra $50 million a year in capital funding for fire and emergency services facilities (including more permanent fire stations), fire appliances, communications systems and equipment for the QFES and RFSQ. This would increase the yearly total to $147 million.
- Invest $24 million over three years to create 200 new Indigenous Ranger positions to work with the QFES and RFSQ to better support and inform hazard reduction burns and landscape management.
- Fund this plan by establishing a “Protecting Queenslanders Levy” of $1 per tonne royalty premium on coal and $1 per gigajoule on gas to raise $345 million per year or $1 billion over three years.
The total cost of this package is $890 million over three years.