Volunteer Rural Fire Services (RFS) firefighters in Queensland could be eligible for up to $6,000 in compensation if they have fought on the front lines for 10 days or more this fire season.
It has just been announced that the Queensland Government has taken up an invitation from the Prime Minister, Scott Morrision, to administer the Commonwealth funded program.
Federal Member for Wright, Scott Buchholz, said he was aware of many local volunteer firefighters who meet the criteria of fighting bushfires for 10 days or more this season and are self-employed or work for small to medium sized businesses.
“I strongly encourage any firefighter who believes they meet the criteria to apply for compensation through the right channels,” Mr Buchholz said.
“And I want them to encourage fellow firefighters who they think are also likely to be eligible to also apply.”
The compensation scheme would be styled so that eligible RFS volunteers will be able to access $300 for each day they spent on the fire line, up to the maximum amount of $6,000.
Mr Buchholz said once details are available state member for Scenic Rim, Jon Krause, would be the able to assist people who need help with the process.
Mr Buchholz added that the payments would be free of tax and would not be means tested.
He reiterated the Prime Minister’s statement that the scheme was not about paying volunteers.
“It is about sustaining our volunteer efforts by protecting them from financial losses.”
Some media outlets reported earlier that the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk had refused the offer from the Prime Minister however at 10.39pm last night, the Premier released a statement.
“Queensland's volunteer firefighters deserve the same level of federal government support as do other volunteer firefighters across the country,” the Premier stated.
“I made that clear to the Prime Minister during our phone conversation on Saturday evening.
“Queensland has not refused the offer.
“I will write to the Prime Minister as I have indicated.”