The Andrews Labor Government and Greens MPs knocked back an opportunity this week to provide firefighters with rights to claim compensation for the effects of cancer they suffer as a result of fulfilling their duty, Member for Northern Victoria Daniel Young said.
The Government continues to link a provision for firefighters’ presumptive rights compensation to a controversial proposal to restructure the Country Fire Authority and Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
Mr Young, of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, made a motion on Tuesday to split the Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights Compensation and Fire Services Legislation Amendment (Reform) Bill 2017 to allow for the matters to be debated separately.
“I truly believe there is widespread support, across parties, for the passage of a bill providing compensation rights for volunteers and career firefighters who are suffering, or will suffer, from cancers associated with their time providing such a valuable service to our communities,” Mr Young said.
“However, the Labor Government and the Greens members of Parliament callously continued to deny firefighters such compensation by voting against my motion. Had the split been successful, a bill providing for presumptive rights compensation could have passed this week.
“The Government had the chance to move forward with this issue and not allow other contentious factors to be a distraction. They have blamed the Liberal/National Coalition for holding this back in the past, and rightly so. However, today, they are no better.
“Worse is the attitude of the Greens after stating that they would not want to do anything to jeopardize presumptive rights for firefighters. They went and teamed up with the Labor Government to stop it.
“Labor and Greens MPs should be ashamed that they are holding the livelihoods of dedicated firefighters at ransom for political gain.”