The cause of 12 types of cancer will be presumed to be from inhaling smoke and fumes from fires when firefighters were diagnosed with them.
The cause of 12 types of cancer will be presumed to be from inhaling smoke and fumes from fires when firefighters were diagnosed with them. Brenda Strong

Compensation for rural firies with cancer

EXPERIENCED rural firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer will be able to access compensation under new Queensland Government legislation.

Premier Campbell Newman announced on Thursday the cause of 12 types of cancer would be presumed to be from inhaling smoke and fumes from fires when firefighters were diagnosed with them.

"This legislation means firefighters will be entitled to compensation if they suffer certain work-related diseases," Mr Newman said.

"Everyday thousands of firefighters work to protect their community and under this LNP government's new laws, if a firefighter who serves their community contracts a life-threatening cancer, we will support them," Mr Newman said.

However, firefighters will have to serve for years before the scheme will apply to them - although how long is yet to be finalised.

United Firefighters Union Queensland secretary John Oliver said he expected for some cancers, firefighters would have to have served for at least five years, while for others it would be up to a decade.

Rural Fire Brigades Association general manager Justin Choveaux said the legislation ensured volunteer firefighters would receive the same benefits as professionals.

"Rural Fire Brigade volunteers across Queensland feel that this landmark legislation both recognises and acknowledges the commitment that they make to defending Queensland," he said.

"That if a volunteer firefighter, part-time firefighter or full-time firefighter contract one of the cancers, the proposed law would provide access to fair compensation.

"This will provide a greater peace of mind for the 35,000 Queensland volunteer firefighters and their families when they answer the call to defend their communities."

The legislation was announced after the government and union signed a new workplace accord on Thursday after months of negotiations which included firefighters handing out how to vote cards against the LNP at the Redcliffe by-election earlier this year.

- APN NEWSDESK


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