I am close to tears. The support from people all around Australia is amazing and inspiring.
When we first proposed this long overdue concept all our emergency service friends said the idea was long over due. Many of the non volunteers thought that such a policy was already in place to help those people who risk their lives to keep all of us safe.
Sadly, with one of the effects of climate change being more extreme weather conditions, it would seem that the workload on emergency service volunteers is going to increase. And this is at a time when we see volunteer numbers declining in many areas and in many , often due to the personal financial costs.
State governments do what they can, often through assistance to payroll tax concessions to employers but for the individual, other than the odd thank you at a fund raising sausage sizzle, the community relies of their personal passion and commitment to the community.
My children are third generation CFS volunteers (cadets). In our region, fires are put out by volunteer firefighters. Road side accidents are attended by volunteers SES, ambulance officers and fire fighters. At sea it is the volunteer coastal patrol who will come to our aid if we get into trouble.
It is impractical to imagine a full time funded organisation to provide these services. Therefore we have to rely on volunteers. And I am very proud to be part of that important part of our society.
What has also brought me to tears are the stories people are sharing as volunteers. The life times of dedication and support for their communities, our communities. For that matter our nation.
Unfortunately concepts such as Tax Concessions For Emergency Service Volunteers requires the support of the federal government to create the appropriate legislation. I am championing this cause but I can only do it with your support on election day. Therefore, other than asking for your vote, I would implore you to share this idea with your friends, your colleagues, your fellow volunteers.
In asking this, I would also ask you to read about our other philosophies and platforms. I am sure you will find that we believe in a dynamic and progressive Australia where we can continue to enjoy our quality of life while at the same time preparing for the future needs of the nation.
Australia is a big country with a relatively small population for that area. This means that when disasters strike we rely on our volunteers.
I just want to say thank you to you all.
Together we can make Tax Concessions For Emergency Service Volunteers a reality.