More than 1000 fireys get financial compo
More than 1000 volunteer firefighters in NSW and Queensland have received financial compensation from the federal government for lost income fighting fires this summer.
And the government has received more than 75,000 claims for disaster relief payments from fire victims.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison initially rejected calls to compensate volunteer fireys, before bowing to mounting pressure and announcing payments of up to $300 per person per day - up to $6000 in total.
New data provided to The Sunday Telegraph reveals more than $3.5 million has been paid to more than 1000 volunteers in the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), as well as Queensland volunteer firefighters and SES personnel involved in the bushfire crisis.
South Australia has also signed off on a compensation deal to pay volunteer firefighters.
The federal government has established a $2 billion bushfire recovery fund to co-ordinate the rebuilding response, as well as providing one-off relief payments of $1000 for adults and $400 for children.
By the end of last week, the government had already paid out more than $85.4 million in disaster relief.
Fire victims whose income has been affected by the bushfires can also apply for short-term income support payments, worth about $250 a week for up to 13 weeks.
The new data comes as the Morrison government prepares to introduce a raft of legislation to fast-track tax relief for fire victims when parliament resumes this week.
The package will ensure disaster payments provided by federal, state or local governments are tax-free.
Taxpayers living in fire-affected postcodes will be given an extension until May 28 to lodge and pay their business activity statements and income tax returns.
Impacted businesses that pay their pay-as-you-go instalments quarterly will also be allowed to claim zero dollars for the December 2019 quarter and receive a refund for any instalments made in the September 2019 quarter.