Smoke alarm concerns fall on Labor’s deaf ears

The Palaszczuk Labor Government has stuck its head in the sand over concerns raised about the length of the ‘phase-in’ period for photoelectric smoke alarms being considered by Parliament.

Shadow Fire and Emergency Services Minister Jarrod Bleijie said the LNP Opposition was worried about reports at today’s Parliamentary committee hearing that the Labor Government and Minister Bill Byrne were refusing to consult over the issue.

“We strongly support the introduction of photoelectric smoke alarms in Queensland homes which is why we introduced legislation in December 2015 in an attempt to make them law,” Mr Bleijie said.

“Labor could have saved time by simply supporting the LNP’s laws, rather than playing petty political games – but ultimately we’re glad they have backed our push for the life-saving change.

“When we consulted with the community, experts and support groups we are hearing the same thing – the ten-year ‘phase-in’ proposed by the government is simply too long and will put lives at risk.

“It’s disappointing that once again the Palaszczuk Labor Government is frozen at the wheel, playing second fiddle to the LNP on mental health, smoking laws, protection for firefighters and now smoke alarms.”

Louie Naumovski, founder of the Logan House Fire Support Network appeared before the Parliamentary committee and has been advocating for the change to photoelectric smoke alarms for over twelve months.

“This shouldn’t be a political issue, it’s about saving lives,” Mr Naumovski said.

“When we met with the Opposition they were immediately supportive and it’s encouraging that the state government has come on board too.

“The ten year ‘phase-in’ period the government proposing is too long, action needs to be taken now and all we’re asking is that the government consults and considers changing that period.”

Mr Bleijie said despite the Coroner’s recommendations being released in November 2014, successive Palaszczuk Government Ministers continued to hold Queensland back by their failure to act.

“What we’ve seen over the last year is Minister Bill Byrne, and his predecessor Jo-Ann Miller, sit on their hands and refuse to consult with groups like the Logan House Fire Support Network,” he said.

“We would be happy to work on our bill if the Labor Government wanted to work with us – unfortunately Minister Byrne isn’t willing to put this issue above his own pride.

“Our Private Members’ Bill commences six months earlier than the government bill, with a three year ‘phase-in’ period rather than ten.

“How many lives will be lost in the seven and a half years because of Labor inaction and delay?”

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