Fuel scheme to con­tinue

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - David Charlesworth

THE an­nounce­ment of an ex­ten­sion to the Emer­gency Ser­vices Vol­un­teer Fuel Card Scheme has re­ceived a mix re­sponse from vol­un­teer ser­vice groups.

Emer­gency Ser­vices Min­is­ter Fran­cis Lo­gan an­nounced last week the State Gov­ern­ment had ex­tended the pro­gram to 2020- 21.

The only catch is that while the scheme’s length had in­creased, the fund­ing had been halved.

Un­der the scheme, brigades, groups and units could ap­ply for $ 1000 to be spent on fuel for vol­un­teers’ pri­vate ve­hi­cles.

The fund­ing un­der the pre­vi­ous scheme was $ 2000 per year for fuel cards.

Mr Lo­gan said the scheme had been “hap­haz­ardly in­tro­duced” by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment, and the La­bor Gov­ern­ment needed to act to keep the card sus­tain­able in the State’s fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.

“The fuel card is an ac­knowl­edge­ment of an emer­gency ser­vice vol­un­teer’s ded­i­ca­tion and in­valu­able com­mit­ment to their com­mu­nity, which is why the McGowan La­bor Gov­ern­ment is ex­tend­ing the scheme,” Mr Lo­gan said.

As­so­ci­a­tion of Vol­un­teer Bush Fire Brigades pres­i­dent Dave Gos­sage said he was dis­ap­pointed by the de­ci­sion to halve the an­nual amount of the fuel card, but un­der­stood the need for fi­nan­cial re­straint at this time.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the fi­nan­cial chal­lenges the McGowan Gov­ern­ment has in­her­ited, but of course it’s dis­ap­point­ing,” Mr Gos­sage said.

“The as­so­ci­a­tion worked ex­tremely hard to warn the last gov­ern­ment and com­mis­sioner of falling morale and the need to bet­ter recog­nise and sup­port the vol­un­teers who keep our State safe.”

While Mr Gos­sage said it was dif­fi­cult to be happy about a de­ci­sion to halve the fund­ing, he also thought it was bet­ter for brigades to be able to choose to spend the money on some­thing other than fuel.

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