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New compensation provisions for firefighters

The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 was passed by Parliament on 17 September 2015 and introduced new provisions that deem certain latent onset diseases developed by firefighters to be work-related for the purposes of claiming workers' compensation benefits. Once the bill receives assent, the provisions will apply to firefighters diagnosed with one of the deemed diseases from 15 July 2015.

For a firefighter to be eligible under the proposed deeming provisions, they must:

  • be diagnosed with one of the following 12 cancers on or after 15 July 2015; and
  • meet the qualifying period of active firefighting service for that disease. 
Disease Minimum Qualifying Period
Primary site brain cancer 5 years
Primary site bladder cancer 15 years
Primary site kidney cancer 15 years
Primary non‑Hodgkin's lymphoma 15 years
Primary leukaemia 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

These provisions apply to permanent and auxiliary firefighters employed by the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service and volunteer firefighters and fire wardens engaged by the Rural Fire Service Queensland.

These amendments will be supported by enhanced reporting procedures for firefighters, in particular volunteers, which will also help brigades better identify their overall work health and safety risks.

All firefighters with a claim accepted under the deeming provisions will also be entitled to seek common law damages for their disease, including volunteer firefighters.

There will be no time limits on claims from retired or former firefighters under Queensland's provisions.

Those firefighters who are not eligible for compensation under the deeming provisions are still able to apply for compensation under the general compensation provisions in the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003. The Office of Industrial Relations, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and WorkCover Queensland will continue to monitor claims from firefighters made under these provisions to ensure consistent and fair coverage for firefighters.

View the factsheet  New workers’ compensation provisions for firefighters.

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Last updated
02 July 2018

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