Mr WELLS— This statement condemns the Andrews Labor government for voting against legislation to provide cancer compensation for Victorian firefighters. When Labor’s destructive and controversial Country Fire Authority (CFA) reform legislation looked like being at risk of not getting through Parliament, Labor, more desperate than usual, resorted to the dirtiest of tactics. The Andrews government linked the CFA reform legislation with legislation for cancer compensation, making sure that cancer compensation would fail if the CFA reform was not passed.
Unlike Labor’s appalling tactics, a Liberal-Nationals bill on cancer compensation was introduced with no strings attached. The Liberal-Nationals bill backdated eligibility to those diagnosed with cancer to 9 March 2015, unlike Labor’s bill, which only covered firefighters with cancer from 1 June 2016. The Liberal-Nationals bill provided compensation for all firefighters equally, unlike Labor’s bill, which would have run volunteer firefighters through a committee process to determine whether they had attended enough fires to qualify.
In spite of the Liberal-Nationals legislation leaving firefighters better off, Labor still voted against providing cancer compensation for firefighters. On cancer compensation, like so much else under this extreme left government, the word of Premier Andrews and the Minister for Emergency Services cannot be trusted. Almost immediately on coming to office Labor were breaking their own promises to firefighters on this issue by failing to introduce presumptive legislation within 100 days as they had promised.