New Regional Queensland Council of Mayors calls for SES report release
Regional mayors are calling on the State Government to release a report on a review of the State Emergency Service (SES) as a matter of urgency.
The call came following a meeting of the new Regional Queensland Council of Mayors Incorporated in Mackay this week.
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson, who is chair of the Regional Queensland Council of Mayors, said the yet-to-be-released report on a review of the SES was presented to the State Government in July last year and had never been made public.
“It is very disturbing to have a cyclone hovering off the Queensland coast and to know that a report on the SES has been sitting with the State Government for eight months with no action,’’ he said.
“The SES are critical to regional communities during a natural disaster, so it is imperative that we know what this review has recommended.”
The review began in September 2019 and was conducted by independent consultant Campbell Darby DSC AM and SES director Brian Cox.
They met with 32 different SES groups state-wide, visited 51 local governments and received 488 responses to the online questionnaire to SES members.
Councils and QFES also provided a range of views on the current disaster management arrangements.
The final report was presented to then Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford on July 1, 2020.
In response to a question in Parliament in last year, Mr Crawford said the release date of the SES review report was under consideration and that the State Government was considering all recommendations.
The current Minister for Fire and Emergency Services is Mark Ryan.
Mayor Greg Williamson said it was hard to understand the delay in the public release of the report and the Regional Queensland Council of Mayors had decided to pursue the issue.
The Regional Queensland Council of Mayors executive members are the Mayors of Cook, Douglas, Cairns, Townsville, Charters Towers, Whitsunday and Mackay.
Many of the members are in North Queensland and face the threat of cyclones and flooding every storm season.
Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox said the Regional Queensland Council of Mayors had written to the Premier and Minister Ryan to ask for the report to be released as a matter of urgency.
“It is now more than eight months since the State received the report following this extensive review,’’ Mayor Willcox said.
“The report needs to be released publicly and the Minister and the State Government need to announce what actions will be taken in relation to its recommendations as a matter of priority.”