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Volunteering Australia & State and Territory Peak Volunteering Bodies Response to Australian Government Compensation Scheme
Volunteering Australia understands that the Australian Government’s compensation scheme for emergency service volunteers is a response to the current 2019-20 bushfire crisis and is not a precedent for permanent payments. However, given the concerning trend of falling numbers of emergency service volunteers, increased consideration needs to be given to such matters as the composition and structure of the emergency management workforce, in particular how volunteers are engaged, resourced and valued.
There is a range of options that should be explored to strike the right balance of support and resourcing for volunteers which will not undermine the spirit of volunteering or bring about unintended consequences.
Volunteering Australia will advocate for an emergency service workforce which is fit for purpose. This includes:
- Appropriate resourcing for organisations to cover all out of pocket expenses for volunteers.
- Ongoing resourcing for emergency services volunteer and broader volunteer sector capacity building, where appropriate, to be delivered and supported by State and Territory volunteer peak bodies.
- Building local capability in disasters, to empower and connect local communities and strengthen disaster readiness and resilience as well as save resources and money.