Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester has welcomed the announcement that those who have served in this season’s bushfires will be eligible for the National Emergency Medal.
Mr Chester said fire, police, ambulance and emergency services volunteers and workers, along with Defence Force personnel, reservists and overseas personnel will be eligible to receive the medal in recognition of their service and sacrifice during the current bushfire season.
“No-one serves the community for the sake of a medal but I certainly welcome the decision to award the National Emergency Medal in the aftermath of the bushfires,” Mr Chester said.
“We have seen tremendous courage, hard work and sacrifice from emergency services and the Australian Defence Force this fire season.
“It is important that this service is recognised, and emergency services volunteers and workers, along with ADF personnel and reservists who have given sustained or significant service during this bushfire season will be eligible for the National Emergency Medal. “
Mr Chester said the medal is an operational service medal which recognises service in response to a nationally-significant emergency which must be declared by the Governor-General.
“Since it was first established in 2011, the medal has been awarded to responders at the 2009 Victoria bushfires and the 2010-11 Queensland floods,” Mr Chester said.
“The medal will be available for both paid and unpaid service as well as overseas personnel who have been deployed to assist us.
“Appropriately, those who have lost their lives during the recent fires will be eligible to be awarded the medal posthumously.
“As the focus is still on responding to the fires and supporting communities as they rebuild, the specific criteria for the medal will be settled in the coming months.”