BLAZE: This image was captured of the Cobraball bushfire burning in the early stages near Old Byfield Road in November.
BLAZE: This image was captured of the Cobraball bushfire burning in the early stages near Old Byfield Road in November.

CQ welcomes PM’s announcement on paid leave for volunteer fireys

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement on Tuesday that volunteer fire-fighters who are also Federal Government employees will be given four weeks’ paid leave to battle bushfires, has been welcomed in Central Queensland.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Robert Lang, who is the CQ advocate for Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland.

Mr Lang, who represents 47 brigades in the region, said hopefully the PM’s announcement pressured the Queensland Government into doing the same for its workers.

“I would hope it would shame the State Government into a similar arrangement,” he said.

“Because we do have people in our brigades who are State Government employees.

“They should be looking at ways, as Scott Morrison has today, to do something positive.

“I don’t know how many Federal Government employees we have in our 47 brigades, but it will probably surprise me how many there are, so this is a great start.”

The announcement by Mr Morrison follows escalating calls for more support for volunteer fire-fighters and a Morning Bulletin campaign “Fair go for our fireys”.

“With bushfire seasons starting earlier, one of the things I’ve heard on the ground is that some people are dipping into their other leave entitlements to stay out there battling blazes,” Mr Morrison said on Tuesday.

“Today’s announcement is about ensuring our volunteer firefighters can keep focused on the job at hand.”

On Monday, ANZ announced employees could take paid leave for any time they were away volunteering in emergency services.

Previously, these employees could access five days of paid leave for volunteering.