Australians value firefighters enormously. For years they have contributed vast efforts and dedication to this country. As many have indicated, payment may go against the volunteering ethos, but couldn't their employers be subsidised and self-employed firefighters be compensated for some of their time? Expenses,such as petrol, or a living allowance could given. More money could be allocated for essential equipment.
It's not so hard to work this out. We are going to need more firefighters in the near future so it's high time we helped them.
Darryl Cloonan, Ballarat.
If a volunteer is paid then they are no longer a volunteer. That bit is pretty simple. As a 30 plus year volunteer I don't expect, nor do I want to be paid.
If anything, let's look after those wonderful employers who give their employees the ability to volunteer and for self employed volunteers, maybe a tax deduction which I think would be fairly easy to manage.
Garry Drabsch, Wendouree.
As a volunteer firefighter I do not believe we ought to be paid. This goes against the ethos of volunteering. What I would like to see is our employers compensated for releasing us for volunteer duties. As part of this the employer enters a contract to release the volunteer on full pay, pay the wages to the volunteer and claim this back from the ATO.
The evidence would be provided by the Fire Authorities to the ATO that the the volunteer was in attendance. One major stumbling block to volunteer response is employers either not releasing their volunteers, or being able to afford to release them on full pay, meaning they either have to use their leave or take leave without pay. We do something similar for our ADF Reservists so why not volunteers, not just firefighters but SES and others too.
Steve Burgess, Sebastapol
I strongly believe as a volunteer firefighter that is volunteers should not be getting paid for the volunteer work we do. People join these organisations as volunteers to help the community and people in their time of need, we sign up to do it for free knowing perfectly well all of the risks involved.
CFA volunteers have access to exceptional training and for volunteers the standard of training is extremely high however the big line between volunteer and paid firefighter is the intensive 16 weeks of training paid members go through compared to the 16 hours written and 8 hours of physical training/ assessment we go through. The next big thing is the fitness for duty requirements.
Us as volunteers we have to be fit for task and know our limits however we do not get physically assessed unlike paid staff. If volunteers were paid we would have to have enough members to get out the door (2-4) sitting at the station for 24/7.
All for maybe 40 incidents a year. We as volunteers operate to the highest standard we possibly can and we are provided with the training to conduct our selves safely whilst still achieving the core goals to protect life and property. Volunteers sign up because they want to volunteer, they keep coming back because it is feel good work and knowing that at the end of every call-out you've helped someone on potentially the worst day of their life is payment enough for most volunteers.
Jordan Bush, Ballarat
More details of any proposal will need to be distributed and debated by volunteers.
CFA volunteers give up their time as their contribution to community service. They do not seek financial reward. Volunteers would be wary of the slippery slope of becoming an employee of the state - i.e. a paid firefighter. They have their own employment/professions. Some would feel that they have the freedom to volunteer when it suits them - others in the rural community might see that their volunteering is strictly dictated by the occurrence of fires (and other incidents).
I've been a CFA volunteer for around 45 years and obviously have never sought payment. That said I could see that volunteers that are deployed for extended periods of time might need some financial support in lieu of their normal wages in cases where their employer can not afford to pay them whilst they are away from their place of employment. People still have to feed the family and pay the mortgages.
David Morton, Invermay
Of course they should be paid. In reality they are no different from 'Military Reservists' or part time elected Council representatives. In a society that no longer values 'full time' employment, but demands that people are not 'employed' but are independent 'contractors', the folk who 'volunteer' their time and lives to protect the livelihood of others should be fully recognised and compensated. The how and why of the question may be complex and now that the question has come 'to the front of our collective mind' should now become the collective responsibility of our National and State government representatives to address and present within the next 12 months or so.
John W. B. Hungerford, Campbells Creek
Why can't the government introduce a scheme similar to the Army Reserves for firefighters.
Volunteers should never be expected to give up more than one day per month of their time to fight fires.If they are needed for more than one day in succession - like the present crisis - they must be paid. Most people cannot live without an income and many have families to support.
Marion Littlejohn, Mount Pleasant
READ MORE: Push to pay volunteers
It's about time the men and women in Australia get paid if they are volunteering. Spending time away from their families and work. Scott Morrison should be supplying the uniforms and Maks etc since it is workplace safety.
Tracey Clifton, Wendouree
Of course Firefighters should be paid. Their job is that serious and dangerous - more so than our police. What these firefighters do for our world is above and beyond anything else. Risking there own lives, the tragedies their families can face is of way more than our men and woman in blue.
Tara Gangur, Sebastapol
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