THE Gold Coast mayor has welcomed the Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services’ request to meet over the funding debacle surrounding the city’s Rural Fire Brigades.
Minister Jack Dempsey MP wrote to City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, requesting they meet to develop a sustainable funding model for the hinterland’s Rural Brigades.
The Minister’s request follows a letter from affected Councillors to their State counterparts last month warning of the developing situation and urging the same.
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“Councillors have sought a meeting with their State Government counterparts for some weeks, so it is a welcome development to receive the Minister’s invitation to meet,” said Cr Tate.
“We have a solution that has the support of local firies and I’m hopeful that the Minister will be open to considering the proposal on its merits.
“No one wants to see ‘double dipping’ and nor do they want to see administration fees and more red tape eating into volunteers’ funding,” Cr Tate added.
The Mayor and Deputy Mayor last week met with RFBAQ Representative Mr Alan Gillespie securing in principal support for a proposal which would see the State increase its Emergency Management Fire and Rescue Levy by $2 annually.
“The State Government already collects a levy to fund the operational costs of urban fire fighters. If they increase their levy by just a couple of dollars, our volunteer fire fighters can have the same funding certainty too,” said Cr Tate.
Accepting the invitation to meet, the Mayor has asked the Minister to address a meeting of all Councillors given the city-wide impact of the funding impasse.
The Minister last week accused Gold Coast City Council of “ripping money out of the services”.