29 Dec 2019

NSW volunteer firefighters to get compensation of up to $6000

8:23 am on 29 December 2019

Volunteer firefighters in New South Wales will be able to apply for up to $6,000 in compensation from the Federal Government, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.

Firefighters conduct back-burning measures to secure residential areas from encroaching bushfires in the Central Coast, some 90-110 kilometres north of Sydney on December 10, 2019. -

Photo: AFP

Morrison said the money would be made available to Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers who are self-employed or working for small or medium-sized businesses and who had been called out for more than 10 days this fire season.

The payments of up to $300 per person, per day - up to $6,000 in total - will be tax-free and not means-tested.

"While I know RFS volunteers don't seek payment for their service, I don't want to see volunteers or their families unable to pay bills or struggle financially as a result of the selfless contribution they are making," Morrison said in a statement.

"This is not about paying volunteers. It is about sustaining our volunteer efforts by protecting them from financial loss."

The government has come under increasing pressure, including from within its own ranks, to compensate volunteers as devastating bushfires continue to burn.

A fireman fights a bushfire to protect a property in Balmoral, 150 kilometres southwest of Sydney on December 19, 2019.


Morrison has previously said he had not received any requests from fire chiefs for volunteers to be paid but last week announced those who were also Commonwealth employees would receive an additional four weeks' leave to fight the fires.

"This announcement provides employees of small and medium-sized businesses and self-employed volunteers with the same level of support," Morrison said.

"We expect larger companies to provide their employees with 20 days of emergency services leave."

The Federal Government payments will be administered by New South Wales and are expected to be made available before the end of January.

Morrison said other states and territories were invited to request a similar scheme based on their level of need.


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