QFES recruit course 91 stand to attention for their graduation.
QFES recruit course 91 stand to attention for their graduation.

By Tom Sharman

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services today welcomed the 33 new graduates, who will fill positions throughout Queensland.

The graduates will be join approximately 2,200 active full time fire fighters and fill vacancies in areas needing new recruits.

(Map shows QEFS postings)

This comes after United Firefighters Union Queensland state secretary John Oliver criticised the government in September of last year for allowing QFES to be understaffed when it came to front-line staff and  in some areas they were operating with the minimum crew needed.

However QFES Acting Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the comments made about staffing issues where unjust and the QFES had looked into the issue and had found no need to be alarmed.

“We looked at that issue and we were quite satisfied and at that time it was staffed sufficiently,” Acting Fire Commissioner Carroll said.

“However we look at these things constantly, so when ever there is issues raised by anyone we go back and look at it, but you also have to look at what has happened in the last 10 -15 years in terms of fires or road crashes and what the work demands are and we obviously facilitate growth where it is needed.”

The latest group of QFES graduates also has one of the largest numbers of female recruits in the history of the service and the Minister for Police, Fire & Emergency Services Jo-Ann Miller said she was delighted to have seven females joining the frontline QFES staff.

Acting Fire Commissioner  Carroll said  she was glad  more women were joining and it was part of the service’s diversity and inclusion changes to become more progressive.

“We would love to see more women recruited and more women attracted to this line of work,” Carroll said.

“Predominately the fire services across Australia and the world have had in the past difficulty attract women, but we are trying to change that.

“We are talking about a recruiting program with the police to attract women in both organisations, but in particular towards firefighter work.

Diversity has become a big issue in QFES after the Alison review had found there had been numerous cases of work-place bullying and sexual harassment across QFES,. Commissioner Carroll, however, says although there were findings, QFES is trying to change.

“Some of the environments they looked at were not conducive working environments for women and that’s part of the change we are going through at the moment,” Carroll said.

“It’s not just about recruiting more women, its actually about diversity and getting that balance so it actually replicates what happens in normal society.

“It really is a great organisation and we did take on board that criticism and make changes so it hopefully won’t be an issue in the future”.