Presumptive disease program for wildland firefighters effective this month in Victoria, Australia

firefighters save Messmate tree Victoria Australia
Firefighters work to save a Messmate in Victoria, Australia. Photo by Forest Fire Management Victoria.

The presumptive disease program passed last year by Victoria’s Parliament went into effect September 14, 2022.

It extends the program to wildland firefighters and includes “surge firefighters” who are government employees normally in other roles, but who perform firefighting duties during the fire season as part of their agency’s surge capacity as needed.

The presumptive disease program ensures that if a firefighter is diagnosed with any of the 12 listed cancers, they will not have to prove that it was caused by their employment, and it will be considered an on the job injury.

The cancers covered are brain, bladder, kidney, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, leukemia, breast, testicular, multiple myeloma, prostate, ureter, colorectal, and esophageal.

The compensation applies to forest firefighters who:

  • have been diagnosed since 1 June 2016 with one of the 12 specified types of cancer;
  • have served in active firefighting roles for a specified number of years, depending on the cancer type;
  • are diagnosed during their service or within 10 years after they’ve finished their service.

A partial year of service is counted as a full year of service to recognize seasonal workers. Previous service as a volunteer or career firefighter and equivalent interstate service count toward the qualifying period.

More information.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.