Letter: Labor's firefighters bill offers more

Letter to the editor from Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher:

OVER the past week I have consulted with many of our rural firefighters and first officers.

Talking to these volunteers has given me a chance to not only hear their concerns regarding the draft Bill, but also to clear up some of the misconceptions.

In truth Labor's Bill offers more to firefighters than the LNP's poorly conceived proposal, because we will provide access to Common Law damages.

In addition to weekly payments and medical benefits, volunteer firefighters may be entitled to a statutory lump sum payment of up to $315,000.

The LNP's claim that there's a 10-year time limit on making a claim is entirely false.

Firefighters can claim entitlements regardless of how long ago they retired.

Also the LNP's suggestion that full-time firefighters only have to attend one fire is untrue, they must also meet the minimum qualifying period of firefighting service.

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There has been recognition that there needs to be some threshold in place, but there will need to be work done around how we recognise historical attendance when records might have been lost through computer system upgrades or simply never kept.

I've encouraged the firefighters and any other concerned citizens to lodge formal submissions in the Parliamentary Committee Process, with submissions closing Monday.

There's no doubt about the links between fire exposure events and development of cancer.

Our volunteers are on the job 365 days of the year, they don't work shifts, and the practical reality is that they might actually end up attending hundreds or in fact thousands of fire events in their lifetime.

Fulltime, auxiliary and volunteer firefighters all put themselves in harm's way to keep our communities safe, so it's only right that we recognise that by providing access to compensation.

Send your letter to letters@gladstoneobserver.com.au, PO Box 351, Gladstone, Qld, 4680.  LETTER WRITERS: Please ensure your submission includes your full name and contact details including your home address and telephone number. Noms de plume are not accepted. Letters longer than 250 words may be cut or not published. Preference will be given to letters relating to Gladstone topics.



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