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Sunday, 15 June 2014 00:00

CFA Volunteers Launch Cancer Petition

MEDIA RELEASE - Sunday, 15 June 2014

The CFA volunteers’ association is calling on all Victorians to sign a petition to help firefighters to get fairer and simpler cancer compensation.

Speaking at a rally of hundreds of CFA volunteers at Scoresby on Sunday, Andrew Ford of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (pictured) said the volunteers are campaigning to get rid of an unfair barrier that prevents firefighters from getting the compensation they have been promised.

“We have been working with the Government and opposition parties for several years, but firefighters who suffer from cancer that’s related to their firefighting services are still facing an almost impossible barrier, right when they are sick and most in need of help,” Mr Ford said.

“The problem is in proving the cancer was work related, whether it be for a volunteer firefighter or one of their career colleagues,” he said.

“Unlike a broken bone, cancer can take many years to appear, leaving the firefighter with the nearly impossible task of proving that one particular incident caused the cancer.”

“It effectively says you are entitled to the compensation, but when you get sick, you can’t have it,” Mr Ford said.

The CFA volunteers are now collecting signatures for a statewide petition, calling on the Victorian Parliament to change the law so the onus of proof is reversed.

“Certain types of cancer are known to be more common in firefighters, and we need Victoria to follow the lead of the Australian, Tasmanian, West Australian and South Australian

Parliaments in recognising those 12 cancers and presuming them to be work related if the sick firefighter has sufficient years of service,” Mr Ford said.

“The firefighters’ cancer law would relieve the sick CFA volunteer of the almost impossible task of proving the cancer was work related, and would allow them to concentrate on their treatment and recovery, instead of a lengthy court case,” he said.

“As the CFA volunteers’ association, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria is distributing the Firefighters’ Cancer Petition to every district in the state, and we call on every Victorian to sign the petition and show support for the volunteers who do so much to protect the community.”

The Firefighters’ Cancer Petition calls on the Victorian Parliament to introduce legislation based on the Australian Parliament’s legislation, listing 12 known firefighter cancers, with equal coverage for volunteer firefighters and their career colleagues.

You can download the petition and learn more about presumptive legislation, the firefighters’ cancer law, at the CFA volunteers’ website; www.vfbv.com.au

CFA Brigades protect 60% of suburban Melbourne, regional cities and all of country Victoria, every day and night of the year.

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


Published in VFBV News
Monday, 22 September 2014 00:00

First Batch of Petitions goes to Parliament


Labor MP Luke Donnellan's statement to the Victorian Parliament, after tabling part of the first batch of 16,000 signatures on the CFA Volunteers' Cancer Petition, which calls on the Government to fix problems with the existing firefighters’ cancer compensation process.

Mr DONNELLAN (Narre Warren North) -- I congratulate Country Fire Authority volunteers on the collection over a short period of time of well over 16 000 signatures to petitions about presumptive legislation in relation to firefighters, both volunteer and full time.

We on this side of the house recognise that there is a direct link between fighting fires and certain types of cancer. We also note that the commonwealth Parliament passed, in a bipartisan way, presumptive legislation which allows recognition of that link and changes the onus of proof from the firefighter. Therefore firefighters are able to make a claim against WorkCover based on the presumption that certain types of firefighting and chemicals can result in cancer.

Over a period of, I think, two months the volunteers collected well over 16 000 signatures to petitions. The government to date has been silent. At the moment there is an inquiry going on at Monash University. I know there are many members of the government who support the idea of presumptive legislation and who are pushing internally in relation to that, but we on this side of the house have fully supported it for the 60 000 volunteers and the full-time firefighters.

See the VFBV media release here

VFBV is hopeful the presentation of these petitions to the Victorian Parliament next week will help convince MPs of all parties to fix a problem that has now been fixed in most other States across Australia.

16,000 signatures are included in this first batch, making this one of the largest petitions to be presented to the current Parliament. In the meantime, the campaign continues and volunteers are urged to keep collecting signatures and posting completed petitions to VFBV, PO Box 453, Mt Waverley 3149.

The first batch of petitions was lodged with the assistance of Labor MP for Narre Warren North, Luke Donnellan (Pictured), and Liberal MP for Hastings, Neale Burgess.

Please post signed petitions to:

VFBV Cancer Petition, PO Box 453, Mt Waverley 3149.

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

Published in VFBV News
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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