Growing Calls For Aussie School Leavers To Do Compulsory Civil Service
There are growing calls for Australian school leavers to go through mandatory civil service.
Labor MP Mike Kelly has written a post on Facebook asking whether people would be supportive of the measure, which would see 18-year-olds undertaking one year of service to help with future disasters.
He acknowledged that firefighters on the front line have been overwhelmed with the lengthy bushfire battle and many are exhausted beyond comprehension.
Mr Kelly said if there was a yearly batch of young Australians available to help these firefighters, then we'd all be better off.
He wrote on social media: "We need to explore the concept of a national disaster response reserve, built along the lines of the ADF Reserve with similar legislative support and arrangements.
"In effect, I believe we should establish a national Civil Defence Corps (CDC). This CDC should encompass all existing volunteer organisations and would be a national resource that could be mobilized for any disaster."
There are plenty of countries around the world with varying degrees of mandatory service.
Some mandate that 18-year-olds have to undergo a year's worth of service in the military while others force fresh adults to help out in the community.
The Labor backbencher has proposed that adults in the CDC could get a tax-free daily income or could get help with individual HECS or VET fees.
He said: "If this doesn't deliver the response required we may need to prepare for the idea of re-instituting a non-military National Service scheme.
"This would require all High School graduates to be absorbed into the CDC on leaving school for perhaps a one-year period, after which they would be required to render service as required and attend refresher training annually up until the age of 40, after which continuing service would be voluntary."
Mr Kelly said other benefits for these civil service members could be 'concessional travel, reduced vehicle registrations and personal fire insurance charges', or maybe 'limited private medical and life insurance for injuries received during front line firefighting'.
If such a system was introduced it could drastically change the way Australia is prepared for disasters like the one that's gripping the nation at the moment.
Crews have been working around the clock for months, battling blazes all around the country, but if there was a reserve of a few thousand people then they would be able to create a more rotational roster.
It will be interesting to see whether this would be popular with everyone.
Featured Image Credit: NSW RFS/Twitter