The Andrews government has announced its intention to expand Victoria’s ‘presumptive rights scheme’ to include specific cancers affecting women.
Presumptive rights mean that career and volunteer firefighters diagnosed with certain cancers do not need to prove that firefighting was the cause.
“While the industry welcomes the decision, it calls on the government to include one group of firefighters that has been repeatedly left out of the scheme – the Forestry Industry Brigades,” Deb Kerr, CEO, Victorian Forest Products Association, said.
“Forestry firefighters don’t just protect assets,” Ms Kerr said.
“During each bushfire season, these firefighters stand united with their fellow firefighters, working tirelessly to ensure the safety of people, homes, forests, communities, critical infrastructure, and wildlife.
“While we support the inclusion of more cancers affecting women under the scheme, it is high time to include forestry firefighters.”
In Victoria, the Forest Industry Brigade under the Country Fire Authority comprises 800 people employed in the forestry sector.
“These men and women protect our state during bushfire season alongside other firefighters – volunteers and professionals. With an average of 10 years of individual service each, they have accumulated an impressive 8000 years of service to the Victorian community,” Ms Kerr said.
“Our Forestry Industry Brigades take great pride in protecting their communities when faced with the worst circumstances. The risks they face remain the same, irrespective of the uniform they wear.”
The topic of volunteer forest firefighters is in the news.
Following the decision by the Andrews Government to accelerate the timeframe to end native forest harvesting, Wood Central published an article by Justin Law – Managing Director of Forest and Wood Communities Australia – discussing the implications for volunteer firefighters impacted by the ban.