Ambulance officers and firefighters took their campaign to the streets of Bundaberg yesterday with a rally in the Community Safety Minister’s electorate. About 80 emergency service workers took part in the protest at Anzac Park, the latest stage in an ongoing campaign against government cutbacks.
For the first time ever, ambos and firies united recently, mounting a joint campaign against Campbell Newman’s attempts to downgrade Queensland emergency services. They’ve already held rallies in Brisbane, Mackay and Cairns and yesterday took their message to Minister Jack Dempsey’s electorate.
They’ve written to Mr Dempsey on a number of occasions seeking assurances that government cuts will not impact on community and officer safety. However the Minister has failed to meet members and address their concerns.
United Voice Secretary Gary Bullock says “Our members are genuinely fearful they will not be able to do their job to the best of their ability because this government wants to scale back their resources and conditions.”
“The last thing firies and ambos want to do is protest in the streets or strike but we have been left with no choice and may be forced into industrial action if these issues are not addressed.”
After yesterday’s rally, firies and ambos marched from Anzac Park across the road to Mr Dempsey’s office shouting “Shame Dempsey, shame". A local firefighter and ambulance officer then entered the office and presented the Minister's staff with a pledge signed by emergency service workers calling on him to support their campaign.
The rally follows the launch of a TV ad campaign in Bundaberg last week highlighting the impact of cuts to community safety and calling on the public to support this joint campaign. Both ambulance officers and firefighters say they will continue to fight this unwarranted attack on Queensland emergency services and will do whatever it takes to make sure community safety is not jeopardised.