Mount Cotton rural fire brigade receives major boost with formation of steering committee, backing from Fire Minister

RESIDENTS from Mount Cotton and surrounding suburbs have formed a steering committee that will spearhead their campaign for a rural fire brigade.

TALL ORDER: MP Mick de Brenni, MP Kim Richards, Cr Julie Talty and Cr Paul Gleeson with representatives of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services at the Mount Cotton community meeting on Thursday.

TALL ORDER: MP Mick de Brenni, MP Kim Richards, Cr Julie Talty and Cr Paul Gleeson with representatives of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services at the Mount Cotton community meeting on Thursday.

Several residents put their name forward to become a volunteer firefighter at a community meeting last night but the fate of the suburb's first rural fire brigade rests with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services acting commissioner Mike Wassing, who will make the final determination.

An application was knocked back in 2015 after more than 100 people voted in favour of the service and there are fears the same outcome will be reached this time around due to the close proximity of Redlands' urban fire stations.

Mount Cotton resident Craig Luxton said the formation of a steering committee and willingness of residents to become volunteer firefighters was a step in the right direction.

"I think it is a great opportunity for local community members to get together and be very clear about what their intentions are for a rural fire brigade," he said.

"Now that we have a committee...we no longer need to get 100 or 200 people into a room to make the politicians listen.

"I really hope the community leaders will work with the proposed committee so it can operate with some credibility and some agility."

Mr Luxton said a rural fire brigade could help mitigate fire risk by performing regular back-burning.

VOLUNTEER: Mount Cotton father Craig Luxton at the community meeting on Friday.

VOLUNTEER: Mount Cotton father Craig Luxton at the community meeting on Friday.

Residents are restricted to mowing their properties to keep vegetation under control unless they submit an application to the local fire warden asking to light a fire for back-burning purposes.

Mr Luxton said resident's fears had peaked following a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services report on Redland City Council fire readiness, which showed there was an elevated risk at Mount Cotton and Sheldon.

Springwood MP Mick de Brenni said people who had committed to becoming volunteer firefighters would be supported regardless of the QFES commissioner's determination.

"I was most pleased by the couple of dozen people that put up their hand up to become members of a rural firefighting outfit," he said.

"We heard from the QFES saying that the area was well supported by urban fire fighter capabilities but I think there is always room for improvement as evidenced by what we have seen on our television screens over the last couple of weeks."

Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson said a rural fire brigade service for Mount Cotton and Sheldon was the best way forward.

He called on Mr de Brenni to do all that he could to push for a local brigade.

He said he had first-hand knowledge of how frightening, and destructive a bushfire could be, having experienced one that went through part of his property late last year.

"Whilst my own neighbours and family will be forever grateful for the quick response and professionalism of our local station-based firefighters, it is a major concern that back-up rural firefighting crews had to travel from as far away as the Gold Coast when a locally-based rural brigade could have been in attendance within minutes."

Mr de Brenni said that as promised following the last meeting he had started talks with Fire Minister Craig Crawford about how to support Mount Cotton, Sheldon and Daisy Hill residents and volunteers.

"The minister has committed to the provision of protective equipment for volunteer training and to the provision of a fire fighting appliance such as a rural firefighting truck to be stationed in Mount Cotton," he said.

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