One of the incredibly valuable things that the Association has always done and continues to do is make and build relationships with members from all sides of politics. This isn’t being “political” as much as it is making sure that if a Member of Parliament ever wants more information about something relevant to bush fire volunteers or even better, has an idea of how they might introduce us to their colleagues who might be working on changing policy, they know us and can simply pick up the phone.
One of the important relationships the AVBFB strives to maintain is with the Federal Member for Canning – at present, Mr Andrew Hastie MP. Many readers will know that the electorate of Canning covers a number of bushfire-prone areas across an area of more than 6,000 square km’s. It encompasses the cities of Armadale and Mandurah and the Shires of Boddington, Kalamunda, Murray, Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Waroona.
This meeting last week with Federal Assistant Minister to the Treasurer, Hon Michael Sukkar MP was brought about with the help of Andrew Hastie and provided the opportunity for the AVBFB to ensure that the Federal Treasury team understands the particular challenges that emergency services volunteers in WA face.
We used the meeting to explain how valuable volunteers are in WA and flagged the idea of some changes to taxation laws that might help offset some of the expenses that bush fire volunteers incur while providing their essential services. As always, we took the meeting without fear or favour and championed the cause of our incredible, diverse volunteers very passionately, promising to continue to advocate for them up to and beyond the next Federal election.