Councillors light up as brawl erupts over Redlands fire management planning

COUNCIL STOUSH: Cr Julie Talty has failed to have an urgent motion put through council for special work on fire management to be carried out.
COUNCIL STOUSH: Cr Julie Talty has failed to have an urgent motion put through council for special work on fire management to be carried out.

A REDLAND City Council meeting turned into a ferocious squabble today, with councillors slinging insults across the chamber.

The aggression was triggered by Cr Julie Talty continuing her campaign for a mainland rural fire service to be set up.

Without notice, she sought to urgently move that council staff report on a range of issues to do with fire management, including owners’ rights and responsibilities, council’s fire mitigation plans and how council would reduce fire risk.

Some councillors – who had already voted against a mainland rural fire service – argued that Cr Talty was raising the issue without good reason and most of what she sought was already being investigated.

Cr Talty faced accusations that her move was related to her standing for the LNP against Housing Minister Mick de Brenni in the seat of Springwood.

She had to convince councillors that her move was so urgent that it could not wait to be dealt with in camera or at a later meeting.

Cr Talty said the fire situation was a potential disaster especially given the dry conditions and the heat wave last week.

“In a dry, hot August with westerly winds it would take less than a day for (a Mount Cotton) fire to reach the Redland Bay foreshore,” she said.

Cr Paul Bishop said Cr Talty should take the issue to council chief executive Andrew Chesterman who already had staff examining fire issues.

They were to report back in two months on a damning Queensland Fire and Emergency Service report on fire management report handed down a month ago.

Cr Bishop said it was hard to imagine that any work done for Cr Talty as a matter of urgency would be more comprehensive than that which was already under way.

Cr Murray Elliott accused Cr Talty of repeatedly raising the issue despite fire service advice that the district was adequately covered.

“Why are you trying to pull this on?” he said.

Cr Paul Golle asked if it was not a fact that QFES had already said there was no need for a mainland rural fire service.

Cr Boglary warned him to stick to the subject which was deciding the urgency of Cr Talty’s move.

“Everyone else was having a rant,” Cr Golle retorted.

Cr Paul Gleeson said he could see no reason why the issue should be debated behind closed doors, prompting furious responses from councillors who saw his remarks as insulting.

Cr Talty said outside council that councillors who hid behind the argument that urban fire services had the situation covered were not taking responsibility for a large part of the fire risk that developed because of council policy.

She expected to put the motion to the next general meeting although some of the information she sought would be covered by the report under way.