Australia announces compensation for volunteer firefighters

Australia Wildfires

Australia Wildfires

"The world looks at Sydney every single year and they look at our vibrancy, they look at our passion, they look at our success", he said.

Firefighters battling the blazes for weeks received a reprieve of slightly cooler, damper conditions over Christmas, but the respite is not expected to last long.

The Sydney City Council gave the green light, although fire officials warned that the show could be canceled if catastrophic conditions were declared.

Volunteers who're employed by small- and medium-sized companies or are self-employed will be capable to apply for as much as A$300 per day that they've volunteered if they've spent greater than 10 days battling the flames.

The compensation move follows the government's announcement last week that Commonwealth public service volunteers would get at least four weeks of paid leave to fight bushfires.

"While I know RFS volunteers don't seek payment for their service, I don't want to see volunteers or their families unable to pay bills or struggle financially as a result of the selfless contribution they are making", Mr Morrison said in a statement.

"A lot of everyone's stunned, a lot of time away from work", said Sean Warren, a volunteer firefighter for about seven years. "So yeah, it's a wide extreme of sacrifice that people have been putting in".

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The programme is expected to cost 50 million Australian dollars ($34.9 million), but will be uncapped with the first AU$10 million ($6.9 million) being made available next month. The federal authorities says different states and territories might herald comparable schemes.

Another massive blaze, the Currowan fire, has played havoc with holidaymakers along the coast south of Sydney, threatening tourist towns and forcing authorities to intermittently close the main highway.

Australia is in the grip of another heatwave with temperatures forecast to soar over the weekend, exacerbating deadly wildfires that have ravaged the nation for months.

The conservative leader has previously said compensation for volunteers was not a priority, but he has faced increasing political pressure as widespread fires continue to burn.

About 5 million hectares (12.35 million acres) of land have burned nationwide during the wildfire crisis, with nine people killed and more than 1,000 homes destroyed. The western suburbs of Sydney were to reach 41 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) on Sunday before reaching a maximum of 44 C (111 F) on Tuesday.

"We have some deteriorating weather conditions in the coming days, particularly on Monday and getting worse until Tuesday", he said.

"What we are saying now, based on the conditions that will be confronting us tomorrow across the state, but in particular in East Gippsland, is that if you're holidaying in that part of the state, it's time that you left", Crisp said at a media conference on Sunday. Melbourne, the state's capital, was set to reach 43 C (109 F) on Monday with strong winds also forecast.

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