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‘I can only do this for so long’: Calls to pay volunteer firies

Deborah Knight

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected calls to ‘professionalise’ volunteer fire services by providing remuneration.

When asked at a press conference, the PM sparked debate by stating the issue is “not a matter that is currently under consideration by the government.”

President of the Volunteer Firefighters Association Mick Holton says there are a wide range of views among firies.

“When you talk to volunteers themselves, you do get mixed feedback.

“You get a lot of volunteers… who say they don’t feel remuneration is appropriate because it would damage the volunteer ethos. But there are many others who say ‘I can only do this for so long’.”

Concerns are being raised about the impact of long periods without paid work on volunteers’ ability to pay the bills, as the fire season continues to stretch on.

“It’s a little unrealistic for us to expect employers to pick up the tab… [but] many employers do,” Mr Holton says.

We need to really start thinking about out-of-pocket expenses at the very least.”

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Image: Twitter/QFES/NCR Strike Team 2

Deborah Knight
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