Volunteering Australia and the State and Territory volunteering peak bodies have produced a position statement on the Australian Government Compensation Scheme for Emergency Service volunteers. The statement aims to inform future discussion and decision-making around the emergency volunteer workforce, including at the upcoming COAG meeting taking place in March.
In the statement, Volunteering Australia and the State and Territory Volunteering peak bodies argue that future Australian Government emergency management policy must preserve the spirit of volunteering, whilst also ensuring that volunteers do not suffer financial hardship because of their contribution to the community. This will require future emergency management policy to be well planned, cognisant of the varying contexts of volunteerism and have been developed through thorough consultation.
We suggest that future policy development related to these issues by the Australian Government and where relevant, State and Territory governments, are guided by the following principles:
Guiding Principle 1: Maintain a clear conceptual understanding of volunteering as “time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.”
Guiding Principle 2: Reimburse and cover out of pocket expenses of volunteers
Guiding Principle 3: Protect the health and safety of volunteers
Guiding Principle 4: Recognise the contribution of volunteers
Guiding Principle 5: Consult widely with the experts, including volunteers
Read the full position statement.
* Photo courtesy of CFA (Country Fire Authority)