Although the CFA rightly notes that the recent findings about its Fiskville site are complex, and that there is still much to be done to get to the bottom of what happened there, it’s important to bear in mind that there’s quite a lot we know already.
We know that workers, volunteers and their families at Fiskville were exposed to hazardous chemicals, often over the course of years. Many of these people have developed cancers, and some have died.
We know that a lot of these substances are carcinogens – and that this should have been known when they were buried or burned at Fiskville.
And we know that if these people were Commonwealth employees in the exact same circumstances, there wouldn’t be any question that they’d be entitled to compensation – legislation was introduced last year specifically to assist them. The State Government must act quickly to ensure that there are similar protections for CFA firefighters at the state level.
The last thing needed by someone battling cancer is the stress of having to worry about protracted legal battles, medical bills, or how their family will be looked after.
Volunteer firefighters and their families are regularly called on to make huge sacrifices for the safety of our communities. We owe it to them to ensure that our community doesn’t let them down, when we have a chance to respond in kind.
Slater & Gordon Lawyers
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