Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

Minister refuses to say when he will release SES report

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson has made serious claims about the contents of a government commissioned review into the State Emergency Service, which has now been sitting on the shelf for nine months.

Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan has again refused to say when the report on the review would be made public, a month after the Regional Queensland Council of Mayors Incorporated called on the state government to urgently release it.

Cr Williamson said Mr Ryan's refusal to say when the report would be released "suggests there are things in the report that the government does not want to be made public".

Independent consultant Campbell Darby and SES director Brian Cox conducted the review, which was launched in September 2019.

It involved meetings with 32 SES groups, visits with 51 local governments and received 488 responses from SES members.

The final document was presented to then-Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford on July 1 last year, but Mr Ryan took over the portfolio after the 2020 state election.

The Daily Mercury contacted Mr Ryan's office last week, asking when the report was expected to be released.

In a statement, a spokesman for Mr Ryan said: "The government values the vital role the State Emergency Service plays when disaster strikes and will always support the dedicated and selfless volunteers who do incredible work for their fellow Queenslanders.

"The report is being considered by the government and at an appropriate time the government will have more to say about these matters."

Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson. Picture: Zizi Averill
Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson. Picture: Zizi Averill

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Cr Williamson described the response as "insulting".

"What the minister has said to us is, 'go away, we don't want to talk about it'," he said.

"If that's the case, why did they have the report commissioned in the first place? Why did they seek input into this inquiry from a raft of councils, stakeholders and SES personnel?

"It's insulting to everybody that has contributed to that report.

"It's just an absolute insult from the government."

Opposition spokesman for emergency services Dale Last said SES volunteers were sick and tired of being "shrugged off and disrespected".

"The Labor government talks about valuing volunteers, however, clearly that doesn't extend to releasing a document that deals with their future," Mr Last said.

"The minister has stated that he will have 'more to say at an appropriate time'. Well, my message to Minister Ryan is simple: now is the time.

"I'm sure the vast majority of Queenslanders want the government to release the report, face the facts and get on with fixing the problems that are crippling the SES."

Cr Williamson said the issue would be raised again at this  week's meeting of the Regional Queensland Council of Mayors Incorporated executive.

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