Alistair Brightman

Firefighter cancer legislation bill delayed

THE handover of a report into controversial Queensland firefighter cancer legislation has been delayed.

The Finance and Administration Committee will table its report to the Queensland Parliament tomorrow.

It was to be presented on Friday.

The committee has been considering amendments to the Workers' Compensation Act that would provide disease compensation to paid and unpaid firefighters.

Queensland's 35,000 rural brigade members want the State Government to change a clause that says volunteer firefighters have to attend 150 events - such as fires or floods - before being eligible for compensation.

Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland general manager Justin Choveaux says the amendments imply that paid firefighters need attend just one event in the minimum qualifying period to be eligible for compensation.

The committee received 213 written submissions on the proposed changes.

On Friday, the LNP said it was pushing for all firefighters in the Bundaberg and Burnett region to receive the same workers compensation regardless of whether they work full-time or volunteer.

Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said while the LNP wanted to ensure protection for all firefighters, the Palaszczuk Labor government was discriminating against volunteers.

"Our community is protected by selfless firefighters who put their lives on the line to keep us and our property safe," he said.

"It seems a small act to repay this sacrifice by ensuring fair workers compensation is in place if a firefighter suffers from a disease, including cancers, in the course of their employment.

"While the LNP is fighting for every firefighter to have this protection whether they are permanent, part-time, auxiliary or a volunteer rural firefighter, Labor is wanting to pick and choose.

"Labor is pushing for a fire quota that only volunteer firefighters must meet making them attend 150 fires before receiving workers compensation.

"This is nothing more than discrimination, it is unfair and an insult to those volunteers selflessly putting themselves in harm's way for our protection."

Shadow Minister for Police, Fire, Emergency Services and Corrective Services Jarrod Bleijie said he was hopeful the Finance and Administration Committee recommends to scrap Labor's unfair 150 fire quota on volunteer firefighters.

"It is time the Labor Palaszczuk Government put politics aside and give volunteer firefighters a fair deal," Mr Bleijie said.

"The LNP's proposed bill would see firefighters receive the highest level of support in the country and is supported by the industry and the community. Labor owes it to Queenslanders."



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