It’s good that federal public servants will receive the same conditions currently enjoyed by Army reservists, but many volunteer firefighters will not be assisted by this decision.
Many private sector workers, self-employed workers, contractors and family business owners have been fighting fires, not just for days or weeks, but for months.
These firefighters have to pay bills and put food on the table for their families. No firefighter should have to choose between continuing to serve their community with courage and distinction and being able to provide the essentials of life.
There is a precedent for providing support for volunteer firefighters. The Keating Government did it in 1994.
Firefighters deserve our respect. They also deserve our support.
This issue was urgent when Labor called on the Prime Minister to act in mid-November. With fires raging across the country it is now more urgent than ever.
Mr Morrison has consistently underestimated the scale of this year’s bushfire crisis and has repeatedly asserted that resources are adequate.
He has refused to bring forward a meeting of state and territory leaders. He has also refused to review his Government’s inadequate climate policies.
Clearly there is more to be done and we urge the Prime Minister to investigate all options as this national crisis deepens with more dangerous weeks ahead.
TUESDAY, 24 DECEMBER 2019
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.