Volunteer firefighters fight cancer compensation loophole

THE State Government is expected to negotiate with Gladstone's volunteer firefighters about a controversial cancer compensation clause.

The region's 1773 unpaid firies want the government to rethink a proposed amendment to the Workers' Compensation Act that requires them to attend 150 events - such as fires or floods - over five years before they are eligible for compensation for dormant or hidden disease.

The amendment was introduced to parliament last month and says paid firefighters must attend at least one event in a minimum qualifying period to be eligible.

The volunteer firefighters believe the amendment is discriminatory.

Employment and Industrial Relations Minister Curtis Pitt confirmed the government would consider all suggestions put forward during the public consultation phase that ends on Friday.

"I have met with volunteer firefighters and I'm very aware of their concerns in relation to the eligibility threshold," he said.

"I have advised rural firefighters to put their position forward through the parliamentary committee process."

He also confirmed there would be no sunset clause on applying for the compensation.

"Under Labor's legislation volunteer firefighters may be entitled to a statutory lump sum payment of up to $315,000 in addition to weekly payments and medical benefits," Mr Pitt said.

Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland said the government must treat all firies the same.

- APN NEWSDESK



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