Statement by the minister in Parliament 7 May 2015
Minister, Jo Ann Miller, gave a ministerial statement in state parliament, on 7 May 2015. The Minister confirmed that the new government will legislate for presumptive legislation and thanked firefighters and other emergency services workers for their hard work, dedication and commitment.
The ALP in opposition committed to your union in December 2013, that if they were returned to government, they would introduce presumptive legislation to protect firefighters.
You can read what our Minister said below:
Hon. JR MILLER (Bundamba—ALP) (Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services) (10.02 am): “There is something very special about our firefighters. That is why it is our duty as a government to do all we can to look after their wellbeing because, after all, they do all they can to look after ours. That is why I am so proud to stand here today to say to our firefighters that we will take action to protect you. Our sick firefighters should not have to battle with bureaucracy.
The Palaszczuk Labor government will move quickly to provide protection for our hardworking and dedicated firefighters both full-time and auxiliary and also to some members of the rural fire brigades. We will remove the burden on firefighters who develop any one of 12 cancer related diseases to prove it is work related. This will make it easier for them to access financial assistance. This is something that firefighters have been raising with governments for many years, but it is this Labor government, the Palaszczuk Labor government, that will get it done.
I want to thank the Treasurer for moving fast and giving the direction to his department to draft the appropriate legislation. It is very important that firefighters know that their service is valued by this government. These men and women are the bravest in our community. They do an outstanding job saving the lives and the property of Queenslanders every day.
Last weekend we saw them in action—not necessarily responding to fires but to storms, as they rescued people in swift water rescue incidents.
In opposition, we gave our commitment to the United Firefighters Union of Queensland that a Labor government will move to protect our firefighters, and today I honour that commitment. I want to thank the Secretary of the UFU, John Oliver, for his strong representation on behalf of his members during our consultations. Unlike the LNP, we will always consult and we will always listen.
Our firefighters put in an incredible effort to keep Queenslanders safe. They deserve to be supported. The hard work and dedication of each and every one of our police, emergency services personnel and our civilian support staff leave me in awe every day. The emergency services personnel and volunteers are very special and they are very highly regarded right across Queensland.
Knowing that our state is in such safe hands is extremely reassuring. Our Palaszczuk government is grateful for the commitment of these decent people. I want to remind them all that their work does not go unnoticed and I also want to thank them for their work from the bottom of my heart.”
The former LNP government also committed to your union that they would introduce presumptive legislation if they were re-elected. We anticipate bi-partisan support for this important legislation.
John Oliver – State Secretary
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Thousands of retired firefighters will be compensated after a successful legal challenge found that they did not receive the lump sum in their pension that they were entitled too.
A complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman that the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) failed to review the commutation factors within the 1992 Firefighters Pension Scheme from 1998 – 2006, was upheld.
Commutation is a procedure where a member of a pension scheme gives up a part of their pension in exchange for an immediate lump sum payment.
The Fire Brigades Union provided support and legal assistance to more than 5000 of its retired members who were affected.
Due to the number of grievances involved the pension ombudsman decided upon a test case basis. A retired firefighter and FBU member was the primary test case.
The test case found that GAD had failed to identify its responsibility to calculate appropriate commutation factors – the amount that needs to be given up in order to provide a lump sum – and that they should compensate the member for the loss of money and any tax liability.
This decision should now be applied to all affected firefighters in the 1992 scheme.
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “This is a significant victory for retired firefighters.
“As the outcome has just been announced the FBU will be looking at the details and discussing the decision with its legal advisors.”
The news comes on the final day of the FBU’s conference in Blackpool where the union recommitted its fight for a fair pension scheme for all firefighters after the unworkable 2015 scheme was imposed on 1 April.
The post Congratulations to our fellow UK Global Alliance partner the FBU appeared first on United Firefighters Union Australia.
All members this is an historic achievement by the UFUA summed up perfectly by the “Workplace Express.”
The significance of this decision cannot be overstated.
Please click on the red link to read
2014.12.11 UFUA National Bulletin #9 is now available to download.
The message is “Stronger Together” with Trans-Tasman unity further strengthened by a combined UFUA and NZPFU National Committee of Management meeting.
Click to download National Bulletin
(PDF download—you can also right click to save-as to your computer).