MP plan to protect firies
IN a move designed to boost the financial security of volunteer and auxiliary firefighters in Queensland, State Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg has introduced the Presumptive Firefighters Bill into State Parliament.
The bill will ensure Stanthorpe's 16 auxiliary and volunteer firefighters and about 100 rural firefighters are covered when it comes to battling health problems, including cancer, incurred in the line of duty.
During a three-year study researchers at Monash University found that firefighters were, in some cases, twice as ikely to develop life-threatening illnesses than the general population.
The report found male firefighters were 45% more likely to be diagnosed with a male-reproductive cancer, with a 23% higher chance of developing melanoma.
Mr Springborg said the bill would provide Queensland firefighters with the highest level of support nation-wide.
"Here in the Southern Downs firefighters are often called upon to protect our community during wild weather conditions like storms, floods and bush fires," the Member for Southern Downs said.
"The Bill will help all Queensland firefighters who contract specified latent onset injuries including cancers in the course of protecting our community."
The bill addendum means all full-time, auxiliary and volunteer firefighters in Queensland who contract one of 12 specified cancers would be covered.
"This is about making the process easier," Mr Springborg said.
"The last thing someone needs when they are told they have cancer is to go through an extra battle making sure they can take the time they need for treatment."
Stanthorpe Fire Station captain Ian Barnden served as an auxiliary firefighter for 16 years and has been full-time for the past six years.
He believes the move is a positive step forward for firefighters in Queensland.
"It's certainly a good thing," he said.
"I think they've been working for a few years to try and get this off the ground because other states have introduced similar legislation.
"You do hear of guys developing cancer and it's obviously related to our line of work.
"We're always running into dangerous situations to help save someone or their property."