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‘Vast majority’ of volunteer firefighters don’t want to be paid

The government and Rural Fire Service (RFS) are pushing back against calls for volunteer firefighters to be paid.

After another dreadful weekend of bushfires in NSW, with over 100 properties lost, many are calling for compensation for volunteer firefighters who are taking time off work to battle blazes.

But Brian McDonough from the RFS tells John Stanley “the vast majority” of volunteers don’t want to be paid.

“It’s a volunteer organisation and we volunteer, it’s really quite a simple response.”

He says other forms of compensation, such as tax breaks or assistance to employers, could be considered in the future.

“I think in due course that debate probably should happen, but now is not the time to do it.”

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NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott echoed Mr McDonough’s views, insisting the idea of paying volunteers could undermine the ethos of the service and impact brigade numbers.

But he does admit other forms of compensation are a possibility.

“They shouldn’t be financially disadvantaged because I think that is a discussion that we need to have.”

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Image: Getty/Saeed Khan