Applications for compensation open for Qld fireys and SES
APPLICATIONS are officially open for a special one off payment to flow to our legendary firefighting and State Emergency Services (SES) volunteers.
It comes one month after The Morning Bulletin took up their cause with the ‘Fair go for our fireys’ media campaign.
Behind the scenes negotiations between the Queensland Government and the Federal Government have resolved with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirming the state’s SES volunteers were eligible for compensation along with Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteer firefighters.
Registrations of interest are open from today, with payments expected to occur from January 13.
The funds provided through the Federal Government’s Volunteer Firefighters Compensation Package will be administered by the Queensland Government.
Eligible volunteers who had lost income after working more than 10 calendar days of service from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, would be able to apply for compensation.
The payments of up to $300 per person, per day (up to $6,000) will be tax-free and not means-tested, under criteria established by the Commonwealth Government.
“We’re going to make sure this funding gets out the door as soon as possible,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The Premier wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month requesting compensation for Queensland firefighters after he announced a compensation scheme for New South Wales volunteer firefighters.
Ms Palaszczuk said she wanted the volunteers to know their hard work and sacrifices have made a real difference in communities across the state, and interstate.
“I thank them for all that they have given Queenslanders,” she said.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said Queenslanders rely on volunteers to protect our communities and this fire season these people have had to go over and above what they normally would in their roles.
“Volunteers step out on to the frontline without asking for or expecting compensation,” Ms Lauga said.
“There are times when they miss out on income as a result of giving to others and this payment goes some way to recognising this.
“This is an acknowledgement of the prolonged bushfire season our emergency services have battled, and the trying conditions they have faced.”
The Volunteer Compensation Package 2019-20 will be available to volunteers who are self-employed or work for a business with an annual turnover of less than $50 million.
The package is funded by the Commonwealth Government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said it was great news that the Queensland Government had taken the Australian Government up on their offer to establish a compensation scheme for Queensland volunteer firefighters.
“During the bushfires in Cobraball and Bungandarra last year, these courageous volunteers gave up their own time in their jobs and their businesses to assist total strangers,” Ms Landry said.
“It’s a testament to the community spirit we have in Central Queensland.”
Volunteers will receive more information on how to access the payments directly from QFES, or they can visit www.qld.gov.au/VolunteerCompensation