Thursday, 9 July 2020
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Volunteer firie compensation scheme days away

Queensland Rural Fire Services volunteer firefighters may be able to apply for compensation payments as early as mid next week.

State Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, Craig Crawford said on Friday that the Queensland Reconstruction Authority was currently working with Emergency Management Australia to finalise implementation of the scheme as a priority.

“Queensland welcomes this support for our volunteer firefighters,” he said.

It is anticipated that the scheme was only days away from being finalised and would be administered through Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).

The Commonwealth government funded program was announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison last weekend.

The guidelines for the compensation payments are expected to include criteria such as the firefighter must have been involved in fighting bushfires for 10 days or more this season and are self-employed or work for small to medium sized businesses. A payment of $300 per day up to a maximum of $6,000 is also anticipated.

In encouraging local rural firefighters to apply for the payments, Federal Member for Wright, Scott Buchholz, said the payments would be tax free and not means tested.

“I am thankful for the recent rain and the improved weather conditions but we still need to be alert and vigilant,” Mr Buchholz said.

“The fact that so many of our local rural firefighters are likely to easily meet the ‘10 days or more on the fireline’ criteria indicates how fortunate we were, and are, to have such a committed volunteer force .

“These payments are about sustaining our volunteer efforts by protecting them from financial losses.”