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Sunday, 15 June 2014 00:00

CFA Volunteers rally at Scoresby for the Firefighters’ Cancer Law

More than 450 CFA volunteers and their families have attended a rally organised by volunteers in District 13 to draw attention to the need for a firefighters’ cancer law.

The proposed law would provide access to fair compensation for firefighters suffering cancer caused by exposure to smoke and chemicals during their firefighting duties.

Organised by local volunteers from the eastern suburbs and Yarra Valley, the event attracted CFA volunteers, their friends and families and fire trucks from all over suburban Melbourne and country Victoria.

Event organiser, CFA volunteer and VFBV District 13 President Bill Watson AFSM (pictured, addressing the rally) said, “There is plenty of evidence that firefighters are more likely to suffer certain types of cancer. We are entitled to compensation, but that all falls apart when the sick firefighter is required to prove which fire or chemical incident caused the cancer.”

“It’s not like a broken bone where you know exactly when and where it happened. The burning car or house fire you attend today may cause a cancer that doesn’t show up for decades, which makes it nearly impossible to prove it was work-related,” Mr. Watson said.

“The solution is presumptive legislation, a law that lists the 12 typical firefighter cancers and presumes them to be work-related, providing the firefighter has enough years of service behind them and relevant risk exposure.”

The Australian Parliament passed firefighters’ cancer legislation called the Fair Protection for Firefighters Bill, in 2011. Since then Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia have all passed their own presumptive legislation, recognising the connection between firefighting and cancer.

Mr. Watson says, Coalition, Labor and Greens Members of Parliament were invited to address the rally. “CFA volunteers are calling on all of the political parties and every member of the Victorian Parliament to help solve this problem.”

“We are looking for a law that applies equally to frontline CFA volunteers and the staff firefighters who work alongside them. The smoke and chemicals don’t discriminate, nor should compensation for sick firefighters,” he said.

“CFA volunteers in suburban Melbourne and country Victoria protect the community every

day and night of the year,” Mr Watson said.

“We are now asking all members of the Victorian Parliament to pass a firefighters’ cancer law that supports sick firefighters in their time of need.”

VFBV HAS LAUNCHED A STATEWIDE PETITION CALLING FOR A CHANGE IN THE LAW

CLICK HERE to download a copy of the petition kit, including instructions for its use and a leaflet explaining the issue to the public.

CLICK HERE to read more about the Firefighters’ Cancer Law and how you can help

Read 10801 times Last modified on Sunday, 15 June 2014 18:58
CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.

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