SES volunteers to be included in firey compo deal
SES volunteers will be eligible for bushfire compensation under the scheme to be rolled out to firefighters in Queensland.
The state government has confirmed the inclusion of State Emergency Service personnel in the Federal Government's Volunteer Firefighters Compensation Package.
Queensland is responsible for administering compensation to its eligible volunteers and people will be able to apply for it from next week.
The Morning Bulletin understands that Queensland's guidelines for the scheme will also be adopted nationally.
"We're going to make sure this funding gets out the door as soon as possible," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
"This year's bushfire season has been long and hard both in Queensland and interstate and many of our hardworking QFES volunteers have given up a considerable amount of personal time in battling these blazes.
"It's only fair those that have suffered a loss of income as a result, are fairly and quickly compensated."
Ms Palaszczuk said eligible volunteers who had lost income after working more than ten calendar days of service from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, would be able to apply for compensation as early as next week.
The payments of up to $300 per person, per day (up to $6,000) will be tax-free and not means-tested.
Last month Ms Palaszczuk wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison requesting compensation for Queensland's firefighters after he announced a compensation scheme for volunteers in New South Wales.
On Monday Mr Morrison announced that at least $2 billion would be pumped into a national bushfire recovery fund over the next two years.
The fund will support local governments, farmers and primary producers as well as deliver mental health support to first responders.
"If more is needed and the cost is higher, then more will be provided," Mr Morrison said.
Last month The Morning Bulletin launched its "Fair go for our fireys" campaign to ensure volunteer firefighters were not out of pocket as a result of defending our communities. The campaign gained immediate traction.
On Monday Australian cricket legend Shane Warne made his baggy green cap available for auction in a bid to raise funds for the Bushfire Appeal.
Warne wore the cap throughout his 145-match Test career for Australia in which he took 708 wickets.
The top bid was already into six figures just over an hour after bidding began on Monday afternoon.
The auction website was experiencing problems due to high demand, with bids coming almost every minute.