Tuesday 8 May 2018
Labor votes against cancer rights for firefighters
The Liberal Nationals today introduced a bill for presumptive cancer rights for firefighters into the Parliament. Daniel Andrews and Labor voted this bill down.
The health and wellbeing of our firefighters continues to be used as a political tool by Daniel Andrews and James Merlino as part of their controversial reforms to tear up the CFA.
Unlike Daniel Andrews, the Liberal Nationals’ Private Members Bill addressed only presumptive legislation – no strings attached.
The Andrews Government lied to firefighters when he said it would introduce presumptive legislation within 100 days of the November 2014 election. Instead, it delayed the bill to 2018 and backdated eligibility to those diagnosed with a cancer on or after 1 June 2016 – meaning firefighters like Rob Gibbs, diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in May 2015, were not covered.
The Liberal Nationals bill backdated eligibility to 9 March 2015, meaning firefighters like Rob Gibbs would be covered. This means more firefighters would be covered by the Liberal Nationals bill than under Daniel Andrews.
Daniel Andrews’ legislation also unfairly discriminated against volunteers by creating an advisory committee to judge every volunteer firefighter to determine whether they ‘attended fires to the extent reasonably necessary to fulfil the purpose of their service as a firefighter.’ No mention was made as to how many fires volunteers would have to attend to satisfy the committee. Career firefighters were not subject to the same scrutiny.
The Liberal Nationals’ Presumptive Legislation removes this unnecessary and unfair barrier to volunteers and will make the path to cancer compensation the same for both career and volunteer firefighters.
The Liberal Nationals bill would have simplified the process for sick firefighters.
Labor’s legislation does not include training when determining a volunteer firefighter’s eligibility for compensation while the Liberal Nationals will expand the definition of firefighting to include the training of firefighters.
At the next election Victorians have a clear choice between Daniel Andrews who wants to tear apart the CFA and limit the cancer compensation rights for volunteers, or a Matthew Guy led government that will protect our CFA and give all firefighters a fair go.