WAIVING vehicle registration fees for those operating farm fire units registered with the CFS should be considered as a nod to those in regional communities who contribute to firefighting and emergency responses, says a prospective independent candidate for the seat of Narungga.
Moonta's Dianah Walter, a long-serving CFS member and 2022 state election hopeful, is campaigning for the immediate handout of government-issued and accredited protective equipment and communications devices for FFU operators, along with a waiver of registrations and drivers licence fees "in time".
"The CFS already recognises that in many parts of our state farm fire units are an essential and intricate part of our community's response to fire," she said.
"I think we need to consider how we can still capture the essence of the volunteering culture that exists but also give something back to those in our farming communities who contribute to our firefighting and other emergency response efforts and capabilities.
"If not to directly incentivise to invest in new Private Farm Fire Units, this proposal may be enhanced so that it can at least support farming businesses/enterprises to bring the vehicles currently in service up to a safe standard."
Ms Walter aims to convene an advisory group of farmers and CFS representatives to develop a clearer framework for the concept. She has also suggested a reduction in vehicle registration fees for all emergency service volunteers, saying the move would be an acknowledgment of the volunteers' commitment, rather than remuneration.
A state government spokesperson said they recognised the important role of FFUs during bushfire emergencies and had invested $97.5 million into new assets, state-of-the-art technology and improved safety equipment to make SA more "busfire-resilient".
"The ongoing development of minimum standards for FFU equipment and protective clothing, including improvements to FFU guidelines, forms part of our swift response to the Independent Review into the devastating 2019/20 bushfires," the spokesperson said.
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