Student researcher

John Mason Research Leader

Queensland is Australia’s second largest state in land area, with most of the 4.95 million residents concentrated along the fertile coastal strip and urbanised SE corner. Under the influences of climate change, Queensland’s tropical and sub-tropical climates are producing storms, strong winds and flooding events with increased frequency and severity. Queensland also has fire-prone wooded coastal areas and arid grassland interiors subject to extended fire seasons with more destructive wildfire events. Queensland’s residents are now increasingly reliant on emergency services for assistance in protecting their life and property during major wildfire and weather events.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is responsible for the attraction, recruitment, maintenance and development of volunteer workers within the Rural Fire Service (RFS). Expanding community need for QFES support parallels significant declines in emergency services volunteerism nationally. The resulting reduction in the RFS cohort of active volunteers is a cause for alarm within QFES and drives need for a fuller and more nuanced understanding of their volunteers. My research aims to address the serious social issues entwined with declining emergency services volunteering rates during this time of increasing community need. Generation of data useful in developing strategies to attract, recruit, enlist maintain and develop RFS volunteers is a main objective of my work.