NSW Labor will slash red tape for firefighters seeking compensation following a cancer diagnosis, to put an end to them having to go to excessive lengths to prove a direct cause of the disease.
NSW is one of the last states to introduce appropriate legislation to eliminate red tape for firefighters seeking compensation following a Commonwealth Bill which was passed in 2011.
Labor wants the Berejiklian Government to support the Bill, which Labor will introduced into State Parliament in September
A firefighter diagnosed with one or more of the 12 listed cancers would automatically have their disease presumed to be caused by occupational hazards while firefighting, if they meet the minimum service period according to the table below. The diagnoses must occur during their term of employment of within 10 years of their retirement, which is consistent with the conditions specified in other jurisdictions.
The legislation is being strongly supported by the Fire Brigade Employees Union and the Rural Fire Services Association who have been campaigning on the importance of presumptive cancer legislation for firefighters and volunteer firefighters being enacted in NSW.
Numerous studies have conclusively proven that firefighters are at much greater risk of developing certain cancers as a result of being exposed to hazardous substances due to the nature of their job.
The Bill forms part of NSW Labor’s 2019 Emergency Services Plan.
Shadow Emergency Services Minister Guy Zangari says
“Firefighters are routinely exposed to hazardous substances which may adversely impact their long-term health. Studies have made conclusive links between exposure to hazardous substances and the development of certain cancers.
“Firefighters regularly put their lives on the line to protect our communities from harm. It’s our duty to ensure we afford them the appropriate protections in return.
“This legislation is intended to protect and assist firefighters during the tumultuous times which follow the diagnosis of cancer. NSW Labor is committed to providing our firefighters with the reassurance that they will be looked after. That is why this legislation is vitally important.
“The NSW Labor Opposition is seeking bipartisan support from the Berejiklian Government on the Workers Compensation (Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights to Compensation) Bill 2018 which will be introduced in Parliament this week.”