RFS volunteers urged to register interest for assistance
Volunteer firefighters are reminded to register their interest in the Volunteer Firefighters’ Financial Support Program, which is helping to cover lost income during this prolonged bushfire season. The Federal Coalition Government is providing assistance to NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers who are self-employed or work for small and medium businesses, and who have been called out for more than 10 days since 1 July 2019. Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, said the financial assistance will provide for lost income of up to $300 per day up to a total of up to $6,000 per person. “Importantly, this financial assistance will be tax free and non means tested, similar to other bushfire relief measures already in place,” Mr Joyce said. “But this is not about paying volunteers - it is about supporting ongoing efforts of our volunteers by shielding individuals and their families from financial loss. It is designed for those who are suffering the most from being away from their regular place of work and is the result of a direct request and consultation with the NSW RFS and the State Government.” The Australian Government will cover the costs of the Volunteer Firefighters’ Financial Support Program. The NSW Government will administer the assistance and is calling for volunteers to register their interest via its online portal at: service.nsw.gov.au The assistance will include farmers, small business owners, tradies and contract workers and complements other income support measures such as the extension of up four weeks paid leave, in addition to existing entitlements, for Commonwealth public servants fighting bushfires and provision of the Disaster Recovery Allowance which provides up to 13 weeks in welfare payments. A range of additional assistance is also available to people across the New England including Disaster Recovery Payments of $1,000 per person for people who have been seriously injured, have lost their homes or whose homes have been directly damaged as a result of bushfire. For more information, visit: disasterassist.gov.au Locally, the Australian Defence Force is also engaging in more bushfire recovery operations from Tamworth - one of five new locations identified alongside Mudgee, Nowra, Maitland and Queanbeyan to provide transport and logistics support from 6-20 January 2020.