Income support payments now available for our volunteer firies

Photo from Valla Rural Fire Brigade
Photo from Valla Rural Fire Brigade

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and NSW State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers who have spent more than ten days fighting fires and helping with the recovery effort can apply for loss of income payments from today.

NSW Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott said the payments would go some way to help ease the financial stress for volunteers who have spent weeks on the frontline.

"Primary producers and small businesses are the backbone of many bushfire-affected regions and we want to ensure they don't need to choose between protecting their communities and protecting their livelihood," Mr Elliott said.

"We want these payments to get in the hands of dedicated volunteers as quickly and easily as possible, so we're ensuring red tape and onerous processes don't get in the way."

Volunteers who have provided more than ten days service and are self-employed or employees of small or medium-sized businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million will be eligible for $200 per day up to a total of $6000 without evidence of income loss. A maximum payment of $300 per day will be provided with proof of income loss through pay slips or previous tax statements.

Drought-affected primary producers will be able to claim a payment of $200 per day without evidence of income loss. Payments are tax-free and are not means-tested.

"Many large organisations have leave provisions for emergency volunteers which is why this program is designed for volunteers who are self-employed or work for a small or medium-sized business," Mr Elliott said.

Payments to NSW volunteers will be administered by Service NSW through a convenient and secure process requiring a volunteer membership number and employer's business name. Most applicants will receive their payment within five days of the application.

For more information, visit a Service NSW Centre, go online to www.service.nsw.gov.au or call 13 77 88.

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