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Labor to protect emergency services volunteers.



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STATEMENT

19 September 2002

Labor to protect emergency services volunteers With gale-force winds lashing parts of Australia and the bushfire season approaching, Labor will move a Private Members Bill to protect workers who temporarily leave their jobs to volunteer for emergency services, such as rescue and firefighting.

It’s enough that our emergency services volunteers risk fire and tempest - they shouldn’t have to worry about their jobs at the same time.

While some emergency services volunteers are protected by laws in some states against victimization, there are no employment protections in federal law to cover other volunteers.

Labor recognises many volunteers are still at risk if they temporarily leave their jobs to take up emergency firefighting and rescue duties.

Part of the problem is that the Howard Government’s 1996 award-stripping legislation took away the entitlement in a number of federal awards to emergency services leave.

Labor’s Bill will -

(1) Prevent emergency services volunteers employed by corporations and covered by a federal award from being victimized.

(2) Restore emergency services leave as an allowable matter in federal awards.

Labor says that our emergency services volunteers should be given better employment protection.

The Howard Government should do the right thing by our volunteers and support Labor's Bill.

For further information: Jonathan Kirkwood 0425 231 690

Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow M inister for W orkplace Relations

Robert McClelland MP