25/07/2012

Greens MPs at United Firefighters Union rally, 2009Greens MLC Colleen Hartland will introduce a new law to compensate firefighters for work-related cancers and has called for all MPs to work together across party lines to see the legislation through Victorian Parliament.

"Firefighters don't ask who you vote for when they put their lives and health at risk for the sake of the community.  We should work together for them."

"I will work with anyone in Victorian Parliament; Labor, Liberal or National, city or country, from the drafting stage of this legislation right through to the final vote."

"My draft Bill gives Victoria's firefighters and their families the same rights that commonwealth-employed firefighters gained from Adam Bandt's legislation.  But it also extends those rights to volunteer firefighters and to training exercises."

"It lists twelve cancers that are known to be caused by work-related exposure to chemicals in fires.  If a firefighter becomes ill with one of those cancers and has worked for a number of years - a different number for each cancer - the illness is deemed to be caused by their firefighting duties unless proved otherwise.  So they won't have to  fight a draining and nearly impossible legal battle at a vulnerable time to prove which chemicals from which fire caused the cancer."

"I gave notice to Victorian Parliament of my intention to introduce the Bill in December last year.  But it was only recently that I decided to take the step of re-drafting it to include our volunteer firefighters, and training exercises.  I plan to consult with MPs from other parties and take on board their ideas so the final Bill will reflect the highest values that we all hold, and I hope the Parliamentary debate will begin this year, with the support of all members," said Ms Hartland

For comment - Colleen Hartland 9689 6373

You can send support our firefighters by sending a quick email to the party leaders calling on them to support the Greens Bill. [http://vicmps.greens.org.au/content/support-our-firefighters]