October 13, 2017
Regional volunteers snubbed in the Budget
Shadow Minister for Environment and South West MLA Steve Thomas says cuts in the State Budget to the Volunteer Fuel Card fund for emergency service volunteers will hit regional volunteers the hardest.
“The Budget papers show that in the first full financial year of operations $3.2 million was spent the Volunteer Fuel Card to provide much-needed support for regional volunteers,” Dr Thomas said.
“In addition, $1.9 million was spent on metropolitan volunteers in the same year from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services budget.
“In this year’s budget, however, the McGowan Government has slashed both funds back to around $1 million each year. That almost halves the metropolitan fund but cuts by two thirds the fund.”
Dr Thomas said the cuts were a particular insult to regional volunteers.
“Of the 29,000 or so emergency services volunteers across the State 22,000 are rural fire service volunteers,” Dr Thomas said.
“When you add in regional SES and marine volunteers, something like 80 per cent of the State’s volunteers are from regional areas, and they will have to share a capped fund of $1 million a year, while the 20 per cent of volunteers from the metropolitan region will also share a capped fund of nearly $1 million.
“Given that country and regional volunteers usually have a lot further to travel for training and to attend incidents, this break-up of the funding is insulting to our vital rural emergency volunteers.”
“I am calling on the Government to reverse this decision immediately.”
Dr Steve Thomas
0427 908 717