Media Releases

Media releases from the Office of Susan Templeman MP.

Enquiries from the media should be directed to the Media Adviser via the Electorate Office on (02) 4573 8222 or via email to [email protected]

Prime Minister - What's the plan for Bushfire Volunteers?

December 19, 2019

PRIME MINISTER - WHAT’S THE PLAN FOR BUSHFIRE VOLUNTEERS?
 

The brave men and women fighting fires across the country deserve an answer from the Prime Minister.

What is his plan to ensure we have the firefighters we need for the rest of this unprecedented bushfire season?

There are increasing reports of volunteer firefighters facing ‘emotional and financial fatigue’ due to their long absences from work and families, with many now having to turn down requests to help.

This was backed up yesterday, when we met with Rural Fire Service staff, volunteer fireys and community members in the Hawkesbury region, northwest of Sydney.

The main concern raised was fatigue among volunteers and the difficulties in finding enough volunteers to staff fire brigades. We met people who had used up their annual leave to help fight fires and people who had had to freeze their mortgage repayments, due to giving up paid work to volunteer.

This challenge is not going away, with experts saying our fire season is still months from over. 

Unfortunately, we still don’t see a plan from this Government, which prefers band aid solutions to providing real support to firefighters.

So far this bushfire season, the Prime Minister has:

• Refused to meet with ex-fire chiefs, who wanted to warn him about the dangerous conditions we now face,
• Dismissed Labor’s suggestion to hold an urgent COAG meeting to ensure Australia was prepared for future bushfires and other natural disasters, and
• Rejected concerns about fatigue among our volunteer firefighters, saying “they want to be there”.
• Ignored a two year old request from the National Aerial Firefighting Centre to increase funding on an ongoing basis, in favour of a one off payment.

It’s time the Prime Minister of Australia showed some leadership and came up with a plan, for how we will deal with the unprecedented bushfires our country now faces.

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