Volunteer firefighters who work in government jobs will get at least four weeks paid leave to help fight bushfires.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the move while visiting parts of South Australia which have been devastated by bushfires.
“I issued a directive to all Commonwealth departments and agencies that will see the full paid leave for emergency services be lifted to a minimum standard of four weeks,” he said.
“Four weeks, and, with additional leave able to be provided by those agencies on an as-needed basis.
“This will lift emergency services leave to effectively what is the same standard for the defence reservists when they’re called out.”
He said 150,000 employees across the country will be able to take advantage of the plan, and help relieve crews.
“This will enable them to be able to commit more time in their brigades,” he said.
“This means that we have more people able to be deployed out of those mainly Metropolitan brigades, and to be able to relieve those in country and rural areas and allow those very tired firefighters, particularly in parts of New South Wales where they’ve been going for weeks on end, and that they can go home to their families and their businesses.”
He praised companies such as ANZ for allowing employees leave to take on voluntary firefighting, and urged others to join suit.
Mr Morrison said the Defence force is also taking a “more forward-leaning and proactive approach” from today.
However, when asked why financial compensation isn’t planned for RFS members, he again said it’s a state issue and not a federal one.
“Well, that’s not the advice that I’m receiving from the Premiers or the fire commissioners,” he said.
More than 80 homes have been lost in the Adelaide Hills, close to the city, as well as vineyards and other businesses.
Meanwhile the fire at Cudlee Creek in the Adelaide Hills as well as one on Kangaroo Island are still burning out of control.
An appeal has been set up for Cudlee Cree residents.
About 1500 South Australian firefighters have also been helping battle bushfires in NSW.