Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, says common sense has prevailed after the Palaszczuk Labor Government finally bowed to overwhelming public pressure and voted to give volunteer rural firefighters access to adequate workers compensation arrangements.
Mr Cripps said the Queensland Parliament yesterday passed a Bill to protect all Queensland firefighters who contract one of 12 specified cancers in the course of protecting life and property in communities across the state – without the need to attend a minimum of 150 fires.
“I want to pay tribute to the thousands of members of the Rural Fire Brigade Association of Queensland who have campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness amongst the general public and in particular, amongst Queensland MPs, about this important issue” said Mr Cripps.
“The LNP introduced a Private Members Bill into the Queensland Parliament to provide the same workplace protection to rural volunteer firefighters which was provided to permanent, part-time and auxiliary officers in the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service” he said.
“Amazingly, the Palaszczuk Labor Government introduced an alternative bill that discriminated against rural volunteer firefighters by requiring them to attend 150 fires before they would be covered – a move that was downright unfair and mean-spirited”.
“It wasn’t until the Labor Chair of the Parliamentary Finance and Administration Committee described the Palaszczuk Government’s Bill as ‘unworkable’, that Labor actually agreed to scrap its arbitrary 150 fire threshold during yesterday’s debate in parliament”.
“I have nothing but the upmost respect for the 35,000 rural fire volunteers across Queensland, including the hard working members of many rural fire brigades in the Hinchinbrook electorate and I’m delighted with this positive outcome”.
“This is a big win for rural fire volunteers to be treated equally in respect of this presumptive legislation and I’m proud that the LNP has worked hard, in conjunction with the Rural Fire Brigade Association of Queensland, to achieve this result”.
Mr Cripps said Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg had recently met with rural fire volunteers from brigades in the Herbert River district and on Townsville’s Northern Beaches at the Bambaroo Rural Fire Brigade shed, between Ingham and Townsville.
See Youtube link below of the meeting at Bambaroo, between Ingham and Townsville