Wondering if you need to have your name on the FireCom System as having attended fires to be covered by the Firefighter Cancer Presumptive Legislation in the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act Qld?
The short answer is no.
It is an unfortunate reality that firefighters are more at risk of getting some cancers than the rest of the general public because of their employment. Firefighters now have easier access to cancer compensation in Qld. Firefighter cancer presumption law means that firefighters can access workers' compensation easier and quicker when they receive a cancer diagnosis.
In Queensland, presumptive legislation applies to permanent firefighters and part-time auxiliary firefighters employed by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and volunteer firefighters engaged by the Rural Fire Service Queensland.
If a firefighter has been diagnosed with one of 12 specified cancers listed below and has been for the respective qualifying period in an active firefighting role, then their cancer will be presumed to be work related for the purposes of accessing workers’ compensation benefits.
Disease / Qualifying Period
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 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
As the legislation triggers an automatic presumption, there is no need to have your name on the Firecom System for each fire attended, fill out any forms or lodge details of the fires you have attended in any official capacity.
QFES will confirm your length of service with WorkCover when you apply for compensation. That is all that is required to prove your length or service to access cancer compensation unless the employer or WorkCover challenge the application and the presumption.
It is still strongly recommended that you keep your own personal records about the fires you have attended. If you develop a cancer that is not covered by presumptive legislation, you are still able to claim compensation but it is assessed like any other claim for workers' compensation and you will have to prove the entitlement. Detailed records will help substantiate your claim and will increase the likelihood of having your claim accepted.