The Kalgoorlie Miner
KALGOORLIE, Australia — Goldfields firefighter and cancer survivor Jim McIntosh says he is pleased the State Government has formally acknowledged the link between firefighting and cancer.
Emergency Services Minister Troy Buswell last week announced a Bill to make it easier for firefighters to get compensation if they had a prescribed cancer. The legislation, which he expected to be introduced after the March election, worked on the presumption firefighters contracted the cancer at work.
The announcement came after the Federal Government introduced similar legislation last year.
Mr McIntosh, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and operated on in 2009, said it was great to see the laws gaining momentum.
I went to Canberra when it was passed through Federal Parliament in July last year, he said.
There were a lot of firefighters there who were suffering from cancer, so it was quite emotional for a lot of the blokes there.
From my point of view, I'm just glad it's going through and that it will protect firefighters in the future.
For anyone who gets cancer it's a financial battle as well as emotional and everything else, so if you can take the financial burden away that's a huge relief.
The 57-year-old said international research had proved the link between firefighting and cancer a link he knew about from personal experience.
I joined Kalgoorlie Fire Station in 1978 and more than 50 percent of the firefighters I started with have developed some form of cancer, he said.
United Firefighters Union WA secretary Kevin Jolly said the Bill was long overdue, but it was good to see the State Government had included volunteers and retired firefighters.
As all the studies show, there is a link, and we're certainly appreciative that they've finally recognised it, Mr Jolly said.
However, Shadow Emergency Services Minister Margaret Quirk said the announcement was little more than an election promise and similar legislation should have been introduced in February.
If the Barnett Government had supported WA Labor's Bill, these laws would already be in effect, she said.
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