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Huge Call For Volunteer Firefighters To Be Paid And Given Tax Breaks For Their Bravery

by : Emily Brown on : 20 Dec 2019 08:42
Volunteer firefighters working in Australia should be compensated for their effortsVolunteer firefighters working in Australia should be compensated for their effortsShutterstock

Australian politician Anthony Albanese has called for volunteer firefighters to be rewarded with money and tax breaks for their bravery. 

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It takes an incredible amount of courage to risk your life out of choice and as bushfires rage across Australia both hired and volunteer firefighters have been stepping up.

While everyone on the front line should be commended, those who are fighting simply because they want to help are examples of humanity at its finest. Therefore, Albanese believes the volunteers should be compensated for the fact they are ‘giving up months’ of their time.

Hear Albanese explain his argument here:

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The politician suggested the hard working men and women could be supported with tax breaks and leave payments, while businesses giving workers time off could also receive support.

During an interview with 7News’ Sunrise, the 56-year-old pointed out volunteers ‘still need to pay their rent’, ‘buy food’ and ‘look after their family and their kids’; necessities which may be difficult when they are spending day after day tackling fires for free.

Albanese continued:

These people are showing their commitment to their communities and the nation and they deserve an equal commitment back.

No one should be forced to choose between going and helping their community and missing out on their basic income.

Members of the public have expressed support for the politician’s views:

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In comparison, last week Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison argued volunteer firefighters didn’t need to be paid as they ‘wanted’ to be on the front line.

Speaking to reporters, he explained:

They’re tired, but they also want to be out there defending their communities.

We do all we can to rotate the shifts to give them those breaks but equally, in many cases, you’ve got to hold them back to make sure they get that rest. I thank them all for what they’re doing.

sydney bushfiresydney bushfirePA Images

Albanese’s comments came after two volunteers lost their lives battling a blaze on Thursday, December 19. Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, and Geoffrey Keaton, 32, were killed when their truck rolled off the road after hitting a fallen tree at Buxton, south of Sydney.

The pair had both been voluntarily fighting fires for more than a decade. A memorial was held for the two men, who were both fathers, on Friday.

Memorial for two volunteer firefighters who died in AustraliaMemorial for two volunteer firefighters who died in AustraliaShutterstock

Albanese believes it is time for a national bushfire summit to discuss remuneration and other factors impacting the volunteer arm of firefighters.

He argued:

These are issues that need looking at and what we know now is there’s a problem here.

Disaster preparedness is a national issue which deserves national leadership.

Unfortunately, leadership is not what we see from the prime minister, who continues to bury his head in the sand, ignoring the warnings and pleas from experts, scientists and communities.

New South Wales FireNew South Wales FirePA Images
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Morrison has said the government is ‘constantly looking at ways we can better facilitate the volunteer effort’ but to professionalise the system is ‘not a matter that’s currently under consideration by the government’.

Every single person working to battle the fires in Australia is doing an amazing job; our thoughts are with those who have suffered during the efforts.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Anthony Albanese, Australia, Bushfires, Compensation, Fire, Firefighters, Scott Morrison, Volunteers

Credits

Sunrise/Twitter
  1. Sunrise/Twitter

    @sunriseon7