Barbie ban burns hole in SES funds

THE state government has backflipped on a ruling that would have stripped State Emergency Service groups of their ability to fundraise.

But it may come too late for the Woodgate SES, which was aiming to raise up to $4000 from next month's Bundy Thunder event by running various fundraising initiatives.

SES Woodgate group leader Henk Rappard said the group had been invited to fundraise at the upcoming powerboat races, but were then informed by Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) they would not be covered by their usual public liability insurance if they went ahead.

“I got an email saying the state government would no longer cover us for our fundraising,” he said.

“WE were very upset with this decision, as it would have effectively ended our ability to raise funds.

“We are volunteers and save the government tens of millions of dollars every year. They should be assisting us in any way possible.”

The SES is operationally funded by the state government, but relies on fundraisers such as barbecues to buy much-needed equipment used to respond to disasters.

The group approached Member for Burnett Rob Messenger, who made contact with EMQ to find a solution.

Following pressure from Mr Messenger and the NewsMail, Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts admitted the policy on fundraising had to change.

“I can advise today (Friday) the Director General of the Department of Community Safety has authorised fundraising as an approved function of the SES in its own right,” Mr Roberts said.

“EMQ will be writing to all local governments and SES groups advising of this new function.”

But Woodgate SES has already pulled back on its fundraising plans for Bundy Thunder, meaning it will lose out on one of its biggest sources of income for the year.

“We had hoped to raise $4000, but we don't think we'll make that now,” Mr Rappard said.

He said he would soon step down as group leader because he was tired of increasing government red tape, and many other volunteers had left the group for the same reason.



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