Increasing compensation for injured volunteers

18 January 2023

The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government has today committed to increase compensation for volunteers who are seriously injured while performing duties.

Minister for Finance and Employee Relations Damien Tudehope said this commitment will enhance support to injured volunteers and their families.

“Bush fire and emergency rescue volunteers are pillars of our community and we are committed to enhancing compensation payments to reflect the service they provide to the public,” Mr Tudehope said.

“Volunteers who turn up in a time of crisis deserve this support when they suffer serious injury.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said the commitment to increase compensation payments will provide additional support to volunteers who find themselves in the most difficult of circumstances.

“Volunteers are our unsung heroes and we simply couldn’t have made it through the ongoing flooding emergency without their incredible efforts,” Ms Cooke said.

“Once legislation is passed in the next term of Government, volunteers will have confidence that they will be financially supported if injured on the job.”

Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers said the changes are welcome and will better protect volunteers.

“Our volunteers give their time and expertise to protect communities across the State so it is crucial that they are financially supported if injured whilst carrying out these duties,” Commissioner Rogers said.

State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlene York welcomed the announcement.

“Providing our members financial certainty that if they are injured while volunteering will be of great help in reducing burden and stress,” Commissioner York said.

President of the Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) Scott Campbell said the Government had responded to the RFSA’s calls to deliver fairer compensation to volunteers.

“We’ve been talking with Minister Cooke about the need to support volunteers with fair compensation, and we’re delighted that the Government has listened to our concerns and increased compensation for injured volunteers,” Mr Campbell said.

The changes involve an increase to lump sum compensation payments for prescribed volunteer workers covered by the Bush Fire, Emergency and Rescue Services scheme (BFERS). The payment available to a volunteer suffering whole person impairment greater than 10 per cent will be increased to the levels available to the general workforce, including ongoing indexation.

Amendments to the relevant legislation will be introduced when Parliament resumes following the election

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