Posted on 06. Feb, 2013 in News

The Baillieu Government has turned its back on supporting the introduction of a compensation scheme for Victorian firefighters by refusing to participate in round table discussions in the Victorian Parliament, Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Jacinta Allan said today.

A proposed Bill for an act to amend the Accident Compensation Act 1985 to provide compensation for disease due to employment suffered by firefighters will be put before the Victorian Legislative Council today.

Ms Allan said that the Bill would focus on improving access to compensation claims made by professional and volunteer firefighters exposed to the hazards of a fire scene.

“Labor supports the principal of presumptive legislation as Victorian firefighters go out every day in high risk situations to protect the community,” Ms Allan said.

“Labor wants to work with all parties on progressing this Bill through Parliament. We believe that supporting career and volunteer firefighters in this way is an issue that should be beyond party politics.

“To make this happen we need the Baillieu Government at the table working through the measures needed in legislation for this to be an effective scheme.

“It is a great pity that the Government has so far been quiet on its position and given no clear indication whether it would support or look at implementing their own legislation.”

Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Services Jane Garrett said that Minister for Emergency Services Peter Ryan and Minister for Industrial Relations Gordon Rich Phillips were repeatedly invited to round table discussions, but neither had attended.

“It’s highly disappointing that the Government has failed to address the concerns of the states’ firefighters and the opposition,” Ms Garrett said.

Ms Allan said that the Baillieu Government had already cut $66 million from the states’ fire services and had to take the welfare of Victorian firefighters and support staff more seriously.

“The Baillieu Government’s savage cuts have already affected the ability of metropolitan and country fire services to recruit and train firefighters and be supplied with adequate and workable equipment.

“Victoria’s firefighters continue to get a raw deal under the Baillieu Government.

“This is about all parties across the Parliament coming together in the best interests of Victoria’s firefighters.”

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