HELPING HAND: Rural fire volunteers are now able to apply for compensation but there are some requirements to meet.
HELPING HAND: Rural fire volunteers are now able to apply for compensation but there are some requirements to meet.

Firey’s compo explained: What you can and can’t claim

QUEENSLAND Fire and Emergency Services has sought to dispel confusion around the recently announced Volunteer Firefighters Compensation Package.

In an email to RFS and SES volunteers, Deputy ­Commissioner Mike Wassing said applications were now open. He said the packages provided compensation of up to $6000, for volunteers who volunteered for more than 10 days in bushfire fighting or support activities between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.

To qualify they also needed to be self-employed or work for small to medium sized businesses with a turnover less than $50 million in the past ­financial year, and incurred a financial loss of income as a result of volunteering.

While many volunteers expected to be paid up to $300 per day if they had worked 10 days on the fire, Mr Wassing dispelled the myth.

He said the money started to flow for each day they ­volunteered after the 10th day.

Keppel MP Brittany Lauga meets with Rural Firefighters who worked hard to save properties from the Cobraball Bushfire.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga meets with Rural Firefighters who worked hard to save properties from the Cobraball Bushfire.

"The program only applies to days beyond this minimum, in recognition of the extra service volunteers have performed," Mr Wassing said.

"For example, if you volunteered for 12 days, you can claim two days of lost income if you would have normally worked on those two days."

When claiming income loss, he said the $300-day cap was not a "per day" amount.

"You may only claim for the net income you would have earnt from hours you would have worked on the day you volunteered, or the amount you would have earnt," he said. "If your net income would have been more than $300, you may only claim $300 as the maximum."

Mr Wassing said the program was only for financial loss of income and volunteers who were retired, looking for work or on a Centrelink pension were not eligible as they would not have been working when they volunteered. He also reminded volunteers that applying for compensation was optional. To apply, visit www.qld.gov.au/VolunteerCompensation.


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