UFUSA Presumptive Cancer

Our union is pleased to receive a commitment this week from the Malinauskas government to an expansion of support to firefighters in South Australia in the area of presumptive cancer provisions. 

In an announcement made by the Premier and Attorney General yesterday, primary site ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers will soon be added to the list of cancers presumed to arise from employment as a firefighter in Schedule 3 of the SA Return to Work Act 2014


The move is consistent with the latest scientific evidence about the prevalence of firefighting related cancers and effectively reverses the onus of proof for female firefighters to prove the cancer was caused by their employment, making access to support fairer and easier, with a qualifying period of 10 years employment as a firefighter. 

The government says that this reform recognises the rising number of female firefighters in South Australia and acknowledges the invaluable service firefighters provide, regularly working in dangerous conditions to protect the safety of the community. 

It is noted that SA is only the second jurisdiction in Australia to obtain such coverage for uterine cancer. 


Our union welcomes this breakthrough on an expansion of the presumptive cancer provisions from 12 to 15 cancers under state law after a long period of negotiations and we look forward to the SA government moving on presumptive cancer coverage in the very near future, for the further six cancers also claimed for firefighters by the UFU. 

Malignant mesothelioma, lung, pancreatic, penile, skin and thyroid cancers are suffered by firefighters at far higher rates than the general population and have already been recognised around the country (Tasmania, WA, Queensland, NT, ACT, and the Commonwealth). The Queensland Bill also includes liver cancer. 

Our union’s claim seeks to also reduce the current qualifying period for oesophageal cancer from 25 to 15 years in line with all other jurisdictions except WA where it is under discussion.

Members should be aware that the current 12 cancers already covered by presumptive legislation are: primary site brain, bladder, kidney, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, leukaemia, breast, testicular, prostate, ureter, colorectal and oesophageal cancers and multiple myeloma

Our union has also called upon the government for more appropriate implementation of the current presumptive legislation as was originally intended, which will ensure streamlined claims and less onus on claimants already very ill often with terminal conditions. 

Every week members and retired members come through our office doors diagnosed with these life changing conditions and far too often we attend their funerals and assist their families as they grieve their loved ones. 

We will continue to remember and mourn those we have lost and fight like hell for the living. 

If you or someone you work with is diagnosed with one of the above conditions or indeed any workplace injury, please contact the union office as a priority on (08) 8352 7211. 

In solidarity 


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United Fire Fighters Union Of South Australia - UFUSA

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