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Fire fighters in cancer compensation bid

Victorian volunteer firefighters have started a statewide petition for their campaign for cancer compensation following a protest in East Melbourne.

June 24, 2014 3:10am

Victorian volunteer firefighters have started a statewide petition for their campaign for cancer compensation following a protest in East Melbourne.

Firefighters want the state to adopt the federal presumptive legislation that recognised 12 known cancers more common among firefighters.

Wahring CFA volunteer captain Trevor Cubbin has been a firefighter for 18 years and said the campaign was only fair.

‘‘Firefighters put themselves in danger voluntarily and these days we don’t just put out fires,’’ Mr Cubbin said.

‘‘We don’t do what we do to be recognised and be compensated but some cancers should be recognised as being related to the job.’’

Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia have adopted the federal law while Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria has been working with the Victorian Government and Opposition for several years.

Mr Cubbin said the law should be uniform for all firefighters.

‘‘We are all built the same, we all breathe the same air. We should all have the same regulations and rules,’’ he said.

VFBV chief executive Andrew Ford said Victorian firefighters who had been diagnosed with cancer related to their duties faced the difficult barrier of proving their cancer was fire-related.

‘‘It effectively says you are entitled to the compensation, but when you get sick, you can’t have it,’’ Mr Ford said.

‘‘Cancer can take many years to appear, leaving the firefighter with the nearly impossible task of proving that one particular incident caused the cancer.’’

Mr Ford said the cancers should be presumed to be fire-related if a firefighter had sufficient years of service.

For more information or to sign the petition visit www.vfbv.com.au

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