Firies’ compo in talks
THE State Government is expected to negotiate with Charleville’s volunteer firefighters about a controversial cancer compensation clause.
The region’s unpaid firies want the government to rethink a proposed amendment to amendment to the Workers’ Compensation Act that requires them to attend 150 events – such as fires or floods – over five years before they are eligible for compensation for dormant or hidden diseases like cancer.
The amendment was introduced to parliament last month. By contrast paid firefighters must attend just one event in a minimum qualifying period to be eligible.
However, the government says the proposed eligibility criteria for paid firefighters does not relate to event attendance but that it is a time measure.
The volunteer firefighters believe the amendment is discriminatory.
Employment and Industrial Relations Minister Curtis Pitt confirmed the government would consider all suggestions put forward during the public consultation phase which ended on Monday.
A public hearing into the issue will be held today, August 13.
Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland, which represents the state’s 36,000 volunteer firefighters, said the government must treat all firies the same.
“The appropriate number is one (event) in the schedule period – one for fulltime (firefighters), one for part-time (and) one for volunteers,” RFBAQ general manager Justin Choveaux said.
Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg described the 150 events quota as “ridiculous”.
— APN NEWSDESK
DIFFERENT RULES: Rural firies like these Ripley Valley firefighters might not be compensated for some work-related illness, unless they fight 150 fires— while their professional counterparts will.