Member of Lions Club – State Parliament
An attempt by the Liberal Nationals to introduce presumptive cancer rights for firefighters in Victoria was yesterday dismissed by the Andrews Labor Government, much to the concern of Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
“We introduced this through a Private Members Bill, however this was unfortunately voted down by Labor, which disappointingly wants to use our firefighters as political tools instead of actually protecting them,” Mr Bull said.
“Prior to coming to government, Labor said it would introduce presumptive rights within 100 days of the November 2014 election and this did not occur until this year – and it was tied with legislation to introduce the new Fire Rescue Victoria agency which volunteers were concerned would split the CFA.
“Although supportive of the presumptive legislation side, we voted down this Bill due to the concerns from volunteer brigade members over giving the unions too much power, including those from East Gippsland who contacted me directly.
“We were hopeful the Government would bring the Bill back to the Parliament with presumptive rights only but it has not done so, which is why we introduced this Private Members Bill – no strings attached.
“Our Bill also backdated eligibility to March 9, 2015, as opposed to Labor’s plan, which does not cover firefighters diagnosed with a cancer on or before June 1, 2016.”
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 removed this unnecessary and unfair barrier to volunteers and will make the path to cancer compensation the same for both career and volunteer firefighters.
Additionally, 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.
Wednesday, May 9, 2018