Victorian Firefighters fight for increase in workcover protection


The recent series of Victorian bushfires  has seen renewed pleas for the Victorian State Government to review the WorkCover scheme to injured / ill firefighters in order to decrease “the burden of proof” related to various cancers caused during their employment.

Victorian Firefighters fight for increase in workcover protection


It is widely known that firefighters are at a significant risk of contracting certain types of cancer as a result of exposure to various chemicals whilst performing their job.

Sid you know that several other states,  such as  SA, Tas, and WA have long introduced workcover legislation to decrease the burden of proof for injured firefighters battling particular types of cancer. Likewise, similar laws are also in place at a federal level, where particular types of cancer are  simply (and rightly)“deemed” to be connected to a firefighter’s duties. However, to date, no such workcover legislation exists to protect our Victorian firefighters.

Victorian firefighters currently have to prove that their injury/illness has been caused by their employment – which means they are subjected to the same legislative requirements as other, regular injured/ill workers. Needless to mention that workcover routinely denies a certain type of cancer was caused at work.

The United Firefighters Union has recently repeated the need for Victorian laws to reflect the same protections for injured/ill firefighters in other jurisdictions/states.


One Response to “Victorian Firefighters fight for increase in workcover protection”

  1. I don’t agree with the demands of the fire fighters union over this so called presumptive legislation or automatic acceptance of workcover claims. True fire fighter have exposure to chemicals but so do many workers in heavy industry. Why should one not have to prove that their cancer is work related and simply have their claim automatically accepted yet the other has to prove that it is work related in order to get their claim accepted to get income and medical payments for it?

    The list of cancers the fire fighters union are demanding automatic acceptance of workcover claims for is basically every type of cancer and not just those linked to exposure to carcinogens. They want automatic acceptance of workcover claims for everything from breast cancer to prostate cancer (wow a middle age man with prostate cancer, how unusual) that occur commonly in the wider community.

    At the moment all workers no matter their occupation or industry are all covered by the same rules and receive the same coverage and benefits. Workers compensation coverage and benefits is not an IR negotiating tool for public sector unions to increase the employment benefits and advantages for their members. Cutting “special deals” for one group will set the scene for a slippery slop…next the teachers union will be demanding automatic acceptance of all back injury claims, the police union will demand automatic acceptance of all psych claims, public servants will want automatic acceptance of every type of claim. On and on it will go. We will in up with a workcover system thats a dogs breakfast where the public sector has cut all its own special little deals and the workcover scheme will become financially over burden having to now wear the cost of many non-work related illnesses and injuries and that will mean that benefits to other workers will have to be curtailed to in order to fund the extension of coverage to various vocal groups in the public sector in order for the workcover scheme to remain financial viable.

    Demanding tax payers and private sector premium payers to foot the bill for all medicals and income payments and lump sum impairment benefits for any fire fighter contracting any type of cancer, regardless of cause, as the Minister for WorkCover stated is very unfair on all other Victorian workers.