Cobraball fires Sunday 10 November
Cobraball fires Sunday 10 November

Payday for NSW fireys while QLD bogs down in talks

Compensation for Queensland volunteer fire fighters remains tied up in "discussions" between decision makers while New South Wales is given much needed relief.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a compensation scheme which will see NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers given access to up to $6,000.

The scheme means those who are self-employed, working for small or medium-sized businesses, and who had been called out for more than 10 days may have access to the funds before the end of January.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing that the Federal Government will pay volunteer firefighters in New South Wales up to $6,000 in compensation for loss of income they face while fighting fires. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing that the Federal Government will pay volunteer firefighters in New South Wales up to $6,000 in compensation for loss of income they face while fighting fires. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

Each applicant can apply for up to $300 for each day they were out of work fighting fires.

The payments are not means-tested and will be tax free.

The Queensland Government however will need to request a similar scheme from the Federal Government according to the Prime Minister.

Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services Mark Ryan. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Former Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister and Current Police Minister Mark Ryan said the Premier, who is currently on leave, spoke to the Prime Minister last night, but details remain hazy whether an official request for a scheme was made.

Instead, the Minister announced the Queensland Government were seeking a nationwide scheme.

"I understand the Premier has reinforced to the Prime Minister that any scheme that needs to be put in place should be a national scheme, not just a scheme for New South Wales," he said.

The Morning Bulletin sought to confirm whether the Queensland Government had requested a compensation scheme but is yet to receive a response.

High-ranking Queensland RFS members want the request to be made sooner rather than later as fire conditions are set to worsen in the coming weeks.

Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland general manager Justin Choveaux.
Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland general manager Justin Choveaux.

Queensland's Rural Fire Brigades Association general manager, Justin Choveaux told media the Queensland Government needed to "get on to the Federal Government ASAP".

Advocate for Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland in CQ Robert Lang would like to see a number of things done differently to support Rural Firefighters.
Advocate for Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland in CQ Robert Lang would like to see a number of things done differently to support Rural Firefighters.

Robert Lang, Central Queensland advocate for Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland who represents 47 brigades in the region said the NSW announcement was a "step in the right direction".

He said he had a close eye on this morning's news and waiting to see if the Queensland Government would jump onboard with the scheme.

"This one is a no-brainer," he said.

Meanwhile, business continues make compensation efforts on their own volition with Woolworths announcing paid leave entitlements have been extended to four weeks for workers who volunteer for rural fire services.


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