Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Fair protection for firefighters) Act 2011 Review

On 7 December 2011, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Fair Protection for Firefighters) Act 2011 (the Firefighters’ Act) amended the disease provisions contained in section 7 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 to simplify access to compensation for firefighters covered by the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

The amendments introduced a presumption of liability for 12 types of prescribed cancers suffered by firefighters who meet certain qualifying requirements. The presumption applies to those firefighters who are diagnosed with the disease on or after 4 July 2011.

A Review into the Firefighters’ Act was undertaken in December 2013 by Ms Raelene Sharp to assess whether the amendments are operating as intended and whether they have streamlined the determination of claims made by those firefighters seeking compensation for the prescribed cancers.

Ms Sharp consulted with key stakeholders and her final report contains eight recommendations. These include:

  • improvements to address the time taken to determine claims,
  • an education campaign to ensure employers and employees are aware of the provisions,
  • maintaining the list of prescribed cancers
  • consideration of targeted medical assessments for the prescribed cancers with the aim to improve treatment outcomes
  • a further review in five years including a consideration of whether lung should be added to the list of prescribed cancers
  • maintaining the current date of manifestation.

Should you have any queries in relation to the Firefighters’ Act Review, please contact the Workers’ Compensation Policy Branch at: workerscompensationpolicy@jobs.gov.au