Emergency Service cadets Greg Walker, Melody McNamara, Casey Nankavill, Caitlin Simpkins and Tedd-E Bear (a registered cadet) protest outside Minister Jack Dempsey’s office in Bundaberg.
Emergency Service cadets Greg Walker, Melody McNamara, Casey Nankavill, Caitlin Simpkins and Tedd-E Bear (a registered cadet) protest outside Minister Jack Dempsey’s office in Bundaberg. Mike Knott

SES cadets in protest

KEEN SES cadet Melanie McNamara says she will have to find something else to do on Friday nights.

Friday was the night she and about 24 other SES cadets devoted to learning how to respond to emergencies.

At their training sessions, the cadets learnt things such as first aid and health and safety.

But last week it was announced the State Government was cutting the SES cadet program to save money.

Melody, 14, and her friends are refusing to take the decision quietly, and yesterday she was part of a small but noisy group protesting against the decision outside the office of Community Safety Minister and Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey.

Although Mr Dempsey was away yesterday, almost every car that went past the group hooted in support.

Melody said she had been in the cadets for two years and had hoped to continue for a third.

"I doubt I'll be able to do it with Campbell Newman's funding cuts," she said.

Melody said the cadet program gave her something to do on Friday nights instead of staying at home.

"I enjoy it heaps; it's a great youth program," she said.

Cadet program Bundaberg co-ordinator Matt Curby said the government had taken away the $1.2 million funding for the whole program, which would run for only one more month.

"It costs parents nothing for the kids to join," he said.

"They learn things like teamwork, leadership, first aid - all things that could help them get a job later."

Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey said the government was looking at new programs to try to get more young people into the SES, but said this would take some time.

"It was designed to give kids a pathway to the SES and only about 10% were doing that," he said.