Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Andrew Barr
Australian Capital Territory Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman
Federal Government Agrees To Extend Support For Volunteer Rural Firefighters
Victor P Taffa
Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman have written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison regarding Volunteer Firefighters’ Financial Support Program payments.
This request is to provide Volunteer Firefighters’ Financial Support Program payments to volunteers of the Australian Capital Territory Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service.
We asked for the same criteria to be applied to our firefighters that was announced by the Federal Government for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service volunteers, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.
“Prime Minister Morrison has today agreed to our request to access payments for Australian Capital Territory volunteer firefighters, on equivalent terms as those offered to New South Wales.”
“We are happy to share this information ahead of the temperature increase forecast for Friday and the challenging conditions that will continue for our firefighters.” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.
Australian Capital Territory Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service volunteers have been providing much-needed support to their New South Wales and Queensland counterparts since September, as well as recently containing the Hospital Hill fire here in the Australian Capital Territory this week.
Grants of up to $6,000 (with a $300 daily cap) will be made available to our volunteer firefighters who are self-employed or employed by a small or medium business who have lost income as a result of volunteering to fight the fires.
Payment is only applicable to those who have volunteered for more than 10 days over the financial year.
“I would like to again thank the brave Australian Capital Territory Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service volunteers currently protecting our Territory and the neighbouring state of New South Wales and Victoria.” Chief Minister Andrew Barr said.
Australian Capital Territory Government is working with the Commonwealth on the delivery of payments, with guidelines in place to ensure they go to all eligible volunteers.
“Our volunteer firefighters sign up because they want to protect their communities and help their neighbours. They show a remarkable level of bravery and professionalism and I thank them for their selfless work.” Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman said.
“This compensation will ensure those who are self-employed or are employed by a small to medium sized employer aren’t left out of pocket.”
These payments will cover the period from 1 July 2019-30 June 2020. All Australian Capital Territory volunteers involved in fighting fires during this period will potentially be eligible and payments will be accessible from next month.