Firefighters Suffer CANCER More Than The General Population

UFUSA Cancer Campaign 2023

Presumptive Cancer Legislation; What is it?

Presumptive legislation requires the Government to identify, through regulations, specific cancers of Firefighters that are presumed to be work-related for the purpose of the Workers’ Rehabilitation & Compensation Act. At the present time there are 12 recognised cancers.

This type of legislation was first passed in Canada in 2007 followed shortly thereafter by Australia.

In 2011, after significant campaigning by the United Firefighters Union, the Australian Commonwealth Government introduced legislation to provide for presumptive protection for career firefighters who contracted any one of 12 specified cancers listed in the table below.

After further campaigning by the United Fire Fighters Union, the SA Government  passed amendments to the SA Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act in 2013. These amendments now require the same presumption of the 12 specific cancers to be deemed work related unless proven otherwise.

Schedule 3 of the 2007 SAMFS Firefighters award  contain the presumptive requirements relating to  cancers which drastically affect Firefighters.

Presumptive Cancers For 2023 Campaign

Description Of Cancer Qualifying Period for Presumptive Legislation
Primary Site Brain Cancer 5 Years
Primary Site Bladder Cancer 15 Years
Primary Site Kidney Cancer 15 Years
Primary Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma 15 Years
Primary Site Leukemia 5 Years
Primary Site Breast Cancer 10 Years
Primary Site Testicular Cancer 10 Years
Multiple Myeloma 15 Years
Primary Site Prostate Cancer 15 Years
Primary Site Ureter Cancer 15 Years
Primary Site Colorectal Cancer 15 Years
Primary Site Oesophageal Cancer 25 Years
UFUSA Firefighter Cancer

Brain Cancer
3.5 x more likely
5 Years Qualifying Period

Oesophageal Cancer
3 x more likely
25 Years Qualifying Period

Breast Cancer
2 x more likely
10 Years Qualifying Period

Kidney Cancer
4 x more likely
15 Years Qualifying Period

Ureter Cancer
2.5 x more likely
15 Years Qualifying Period

Prostate Cancer
2 x more likely
15 Years Qualifying Period

Testicular Cancer
2.5 x more likely
10 Years Qualifying Period

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
3.5 x more likely
15 Years Qualifying Period

Leukaemia
3 x more likely
5 Years Qualifying Period

Multiple Myeloma
2.5 x more likely
15 Years Qualifying Period

Bladder Cancer
3 x more likely
15 Years Qualifying Period

Colorectal Cancer
2 x more likely
15 Years Qualifying Period

Campaign To Extend Presumptive Cancer Provisions For Firefighters

The UFUSA continues to campaign to increase the number of cancers covered under the presumptive legislation from 12 to 20. If we are successful, lung, skin, cervical, ovarian, penile, pancreatic, thyroid and mesothelioma cancers will be included.

These changes were recently won for firefighters federally where Federal Industrial Relations Minister Tony Burke has increased protections for firefighters by regulation. We also welcome the Tasmanian Governments announcement to expand cancer protection for professional firefighters and congratulate our Tasmanian colleagues on their successful action. The UFUSA has given evidence to the South Australian Legislative Council Select Committee on Return to Work, where we put forward our argument to extend the presumptive legislation.

A UFUSA delegation has also recently met with the SA Attorney General Kyam Maher to discuss with him our proposal and concerns in regard to Presumptive Cancers. The meeting was positive, and it was agreed further work would occur on costing the change, although we do believe that there is no cost that can be put on protecting firefighters. A meeting with Emergency Services Minister Joe Szakacs was also scheduled which gives the UFUSA further opportunity to put our case to the SA Government and explore timeframes for implementation.

On Wednesday 19 April 2023 the UFUSA’s campaign for extending the presumptive cancer legislation was reported in the Advertiser. The paper was interested in the union evidence that the current legislation does not include reproductive cancers for female fighters.

Prescribed Kinds Of Cancers

Description Of Cancer Qualifying Period for Presumptive Legislation
Lung Cancer 15 Years
Skin Cancer 15 Years
Cervical Cancer 10 Years
Ovarian Cancer 10 Years
Penile Cancer 15 Years
Pancreatic Cancer 10 Years
Thyroid Cancer 10 Years
Mesothelioma Cancer 15 Years
UFUSA Firefighter Cancer

Thyroid Cancer
3 x more likely
5 Years Qualifying Period

Lung Cancer
2 x more likely
5 Years Qualifying Period

Skin Cancer
4 x more likely
5 Years Qualifying Period

Cervical Cancer
2 x more likely
5 Years Qualifying Period

Penile Cancer
2 x more likely
5 Years Qualifying Period

Pancreatic Cancer
2.5 x more likely
10 Years Qualifying Period

Mesothelioma
3.5 x more likely
15 Years Qualifying Period

Ovarian Cancer
2 x more likely
5 Years Qualifying Period

The presumptive cancer provisions contained in Schedule 3 of The Return to Work Act 2014

United Fire Fighters Union Of South Australia - UFUSA

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