You may have heard it on the news, the State Government has recently announced that a specialist panel will be created to consider claims for compensation from firefighters who have contracted cancer as a result of their employment.
New Panel to consider compensation for firefighters
The Panel, to be called the Firefighters Assessment Panel, will consist of various medical and technical experts, and will consider the connection between a firefighter’s condition and their employment, as well as their entitlement to medical expenses and other compensation. It will be overseen by the Victorian WorkCover Authority, with assistance from the CFA.
The move is based on studies which have indicated that firefighters face increased risks of specific types of cancer, including leukaemia, brain, bladder, and testicular cancer, as a result of the use of particular chemicals whilst battling blazes.
In recognition of this, in 2011 the Federal Government introduced legislation removing the burden on firefighters to prove that various types of cancers were caused by their employment. Several states, including South Australia and Western Australia, have also introduced similar legislation to protect firefighters who are diagnosed with certain types of cancer.
However, at this stage, there is no indication that the government will introduce laws similar to the federal protections.