Cooma bushfire volunteer loses pay for helping community

Cooma bushfire volunteer loses pay for helping community Main Image

06 November 2020

Residents of Cooma and indeed right across Eden-Monaro will be upset to hear how a local RFS volunteer has been treated by this government and one of its agencies.

I am deeply concerned to learn of this volunteer’s situation – a man who put his life on the line to defend his community during the Black Summer Bushfires and has had his pay cut as a result.

The issue relates to the ‘seagoing commuted allowance’ which is paid to Border Force officers in the marine unit and is worth around 60% of their base rate of pay.

Employees can claim the allowance while on defence reserve leave but not while serving as a volunteer with our emergency services.

This just doesn’t sit right with me – and I am proud to join the CPSU in calling on the Morrison Government to support our volunteers so that they’re not worse off financially for doing their critical volunteer work.

As the Bushfire Royal Commission stated, bushfires are expected to become more frequent and more intense.

We must ensure workers who are willing and able to serve their community – like this Cooma man – are supported in times of local emergency and crisis.

Photo: With Sophie Johnston from the CPSU in Cooma.