Rural firies push pollies for changes

IT'S hot in Central Queensland and things are going to get even hotter as the region's volunteer firefighters enter election mode.

Central Queensland's 3152 Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland members want poll hopefuls to push for legislation changes and fairer distribution of fire levies.

RFBAQ general manager Justin Choveaux said his organisation contacted every political party in the state to help them formulate policies that would benefit the organisation's members.

He said cancer risks from exposure to smoke and chemicals and compensation claims were top priorities.

"Firefighters are more at risk of getting some cancer than the rest of the general population because of the work they do," he said.

Mr Choveaux said there was legislation at a federal level and in Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania protecting the financial needs of volunteers who developed cancer through firefighting.

"Firefighters in Queensland, where there is no presumptive legislation, can still claim compensation if they develop cancer but it is decided like any other claim for workers' compensation and the firefighter needs to prove the entitlement."

A spokesman for Fire and Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey said the government planned to improve rural brigades.

Hot issues

What the Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland wants:

  • Volunteers included as fire service officers under Queensland Fire and Emergency Services legislation;
  • Emergency management fire and rescue levy distributed to brigades; and,
  • Law changes without discriminatory qualifying and attendance prerequisites for firefighters.


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