Victorian Greens spokesperson on emergency services Colleen Hartland has today called on the Premier to support The Greens Fair Protection for Firefighters Laws, or introduce their own as firefighters are exposed to toxic chemicals and smoke yet again.
"Firefighters go into fire zones while everyone else gets as far away as they can," said Colleen Hartland.
"We're very pleased to see all citizens safe today. However, the health of firefighters battling today's fire is far from safe."
"The Wells Road fire is a large and serious toxic fire. Though it's important to remember that every house and structure fire that firefighters face also contain toxic chemicals and smoke."
"Our firefighters can't be protected from this toxic chemicals and smoke as their uniforms must breathe to ensure their bodies do not overheat."
"We now know that firefighters are 5-10 times more likely to contract cancer, and are 2-3 times more likely to get lung cancer than a smoker due to this exposure."
"Unlike other workers, it is almost impossible for Victorian firefighters to get work cover compensation if they contract occupational cancer."
"This situation is increasingly unique to Victorian firefighters as other states across Australia are passing Fair protection for Firefighters laws, and Federally employed firefighters are already covered."
"This government has been working hard to block all my efforts to pass The Greens Fair Protection for Firefighter Laws in Victoria. Meanwhile other states are passing these laws and protecting their firefighters."
"The government must not leave our firefighters exposed like this and they need to either support The Greens Fair Protection for Firefighters Laws, or introduce their own," said Ms Hartland.
For more information and to send your own message of support to the Premier, go to: fairgoforfirefighters.org