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<b>LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY</b> - Closed ePetition Details

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY - Closed ePetition Details

Presumptive rights for mines rescue firefighters

Petitioner: Mr Jamie Harris | Member: Park, Ryan | No. of Signatories: 794 | Date closed: 21/09/2021
To the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly, NSW Mines Rescue has been an integral part of the emergency services arrangements in NSW since the enactment of the Mines Rescue Act in 1925. The specialist first responders known as brigadesmen are bona fide firefighters and rescue workers and have responded to many fire incidents in underground coal mines and historically they have been paid workers of this State approved organisation. This includes the Avon Mine Fire, Appin Colliery Drift Fire, and the Appin Mine Explosion. Live fire training was also conducted approximately weekly (indoors and outdoors) at the Mines Rescue Stations over many decades. Here, the brigadesmen and their instructors were regularly exposed to a range of known or suspected carcinogens including Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFF). A small number of former workers have had decades of exposure and have now developed cancer. In 2018, legislation was passed to recognise the presumptive rights of firefighters. However, it was not recognised at that time that NSW Mines Rescue employed firefighters. We ask that the Workers Compensation Act be amended to include the NSW Mines Rescue (subsequently Coal Services since 2001), so those mines rescue firefighters diagnosed with one or more of the listed cancers who have met the requisite years of service would then have their cancer presumed to be an occupational disease and as a result they would have grounds to claim compensation without needing to go to excessive lengths to prove a direct cause of the disease.