WOODHILL Fire Brigade first officer Ben Heilbronn has lashed out at the state government's decision to slash the number of fire truck builds across Queensland this year.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services say they had been well ahead of schedule on RFS truck builds in previous years.
But Mr Heilbronn, who is also the south coast representative of the Queensland Rural Fire Brigades Association, said when the Rural Fire Service budget was handed down on August 17 the number of new trucks to be allocated was slashed from 20 to 14.
"Sixty replacement trucks are needed every year to keep the fleet up to scratch," he said.
"They are not only cutting the capital works budget but also pinching funds from our operational budget to pay for those trucks," he said.
"The Assistant Commissioner for the Rural Fire Service was not even at the table when the decision was handed down."
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said the truck build numbers had exceeded expectations.
"The Palaszczuk government has fast-tracked the delivery of new lifesaving equipment for rural brigades who found themselves on the pointy end of the LNP's infamous cuts," he said.
"Since coming to office, the Palaszczuk government has delivered more than 330 new appliances to Rural Fire Brigades. That's the biggest investment in firefighting fleet in 20 years.
"That's an average of around 60 new trucks every single year, compared with the LNP's record of just 68 trucks for the entire three years they were in power."
This comes as LNP Fire and Emergency Services spokesman Lachlan Millar accused Labor of slashing Rural Fire Brigade spending by $20 million since the 2018-2019 financial year, representing a 38 per cent budget reduction.
Scenic Rim LNP MP Jon Krause said the budget cuts were disgraceful.
"A $20m cut over the past two years... after the huge contribution by rural firies in last year's fires, and as we enter this year's bushfire season," he said.
"Taking money from operations - fuel, firefighting supplies etc - to pay for trucks just shows Labor cannot manage money.
"Scenic Rim could face more fires this year and the last thing we need are funding cuts to rural firies."
Mr Crawford fired back saying Labor had done more for rural firies than the LNP did.
"Putting aside the $13 million spent on trucks and capital works, the $40.8 million in funding for Rural Fire Services is still 11 percent higher than the LNP's last budget," he said.
"The Palaszczuk government has committed more than $15 million over five years to base a LAT right here in Queensland, bolstering aerial capabilities across the state."
Mr Heilbronn said firefighters were disgruntled at the decision, which came as Queensland enters a potentially brutal bushfire season.
"The RFBOQ is halfway through building the eighth brand new Land Cruiser for us but we're seeing cuts all over the place."
Mr Heilbronn questioned how a volunteer, not-for-profit organisation could manage to build in excess of half the appliances the government was willing to provide this year and said rural firies were being let down by budget cuts.
"Down on the Gold Coast, Tom Tate has scrapped the rural fire levy but in NSW they have increased the rural fire budget by an extra $43 million."
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