Labor votes down presumptive rights for volunteer firefighters

Monday 14 May 2018

Labor has voted down legislation that would see all firefighters given the same access to cancer compensation, Nationals Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said.

Mr McCurdy said an attempt by the Liberals and Nationals to introduce presumptive cancer rights for firefighters in Victoria was last week dismissed by the Andrews Labor Government.

“Daniel Andrews is more interested in keeping UFU leader Peter Marshall happy than he is in protecting firefighters,” Mr McCurdy said.

“We introduced a bill to give all firefighters, career and volunteer, access to cancer compensation without the need to jump through hoops to prove themselves.

“Labor voted down the legislation in what was an act of complete contempt for volunteers.”

Mr McCurdy said prior to coming to government, Labor said they would introduce presumptive rights within 100 days of the November 2014 election.

“After years of delays, Labor attempted emotional blackmail by tying presumptive legislation to its unrelated bill to split up the CFA and give the union veto power over CFA decisions,” he said.

“We voted down that bill in order to protect the CFA and the 60,000 volunteers who protect us and when Labor failed to reintroduce a scheme to compensate firefighters who contract cancer, we introduced this Private Members Bill – no strings attached.

“Our bill backdated eligibility to 9 March, 2015, honouring Labor’s broken promise that firefighters would be covered 100 days after the 2014 election.

“I am at a loss to know how Daniel Andrews and his city-centric Labor government could justify voting down presumptive legislation for our local CFA volunteers.”

Mr McCurdy said 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’ legislation removed this unnecessary and unfair barrier to volunteers and would have made the path to cancer compensation the same for both career and volunteer firefighters.”

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