October 17, 2017

Minister questions integrity of volunteers using fuel scheme

Suggestions by Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan that emergency service volunteers had misused the State Government funded Volunteer Fuel Card are without foundation and deplorable, according to Shadow Minister for Environment and South West MLA Steve Thomas.

Mr Logan announced today he would address the financial management of the card after it was revealed in the media that the State Government had cut annual funding for the card from $5.1 million to $2 million.

“Is Mr Logan really suggesting that more than $3 million was improperly claimed by volunteers in the 2016/17 year?” Dr Thomas said.

“This casts a dreadful slur on the 29,000 volunteers across the State who give up their time and regularly risk their own lives to keep the rest of their community safe.

“For Mr Logan to say the card is a ‘financial mess’ and he needs to ‘ensure taxpayer funds are accounted for and spent appropriately’ devalues the amazing resource that these people so selflessly provide to their communities.”

Dr Thomas said he was dismayed when he discovered the Government had slashed funding for the card but was now outraged at the reasons Mr Logan had given for cutting the funding.

“Volunteers use this card for fuel to attend training sessions and events, which in regional areas can mean hundreds of kilometres of travel at a time,” Dr Thomas said.

“These accusations from the Minister completely devalue the invaluable contribution these volunteers make and questions the integrity of every volunteer who has ever been compensated for fuel.

“These volunteers fight fires, rescue people, make emergency repairs in storms and search for lost people; imagine how it makes them feel knowing the Minister is now questioning a few litres of fuel they claimed for driving their own vehicle to attend a training session.

“I call on Minister Logan to immediately reinstate funding to 2016/17 levels and apologise to the 29,000 emergency services volunteers across the State.”

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Denice Rice
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