Premier Gladys Berejiklian today thanked the NSW Rural Fire Service, emergency services personnel and volunteers right across the State for their tireless efforts fighting more than 200 bush fires over the weekend.

Ms Berejiklian has announced the activation of employment provisions ensuring emergency volunteers are protected from employer victimisation.

“Our volunteers worked selflessly to protect lives and property in some of the worst conditions NSW has ever seen, and they continue to do so,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We thank our volunteers for their courage and commitment – without their efforts, we would be looking at a very different outcome today.

“Overwhelmingly, employers recognise the vital role that our volunteers play and release them to participate in emergency operations, and we encourage them to continue to allow workers to contribute to the crucial effort in containing these fires.”

Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said the order covers volunteer emergency workers from agencies such as the NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW State Emergency Service, the Volunteer Rescue Association and Marine Rescue NSW.

“Our emergency service volunteers work non-stop to keep our communities safe during times of emergency,” Mr Grant said.

“Volunteers deserve the entire State’s gratitude. This order allows them to continue assisting our emergency services with their essential work in the weeks ahead.”

The employment protection provisions were activated under the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989.

The order means that employers found to have taken negative action against a volunteer can be fined and the court can direct employers to reinstate workers who have been dismissed.