Review of the firefighter provisions of the SRC Act 1988

This review has been completed and the final report is now available.

Date opened
Date closed

We conducted a review of the firefighter provisions of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) with assistance from Professor Tim Driscoll, an independent consultant in epidemiology, occupational health and public health.

The review was informed by consultation with key stakeholders who were invited to make submissions to the review.

Final Report

The final report of the review was provided to the then Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash. The previous government accepted the report’s recommendations and intention that key stakeholders will be consulted in the implementation of the recommendations, including amendments to the SRC Act.

The review made the following recommendations:

  • The qualifying period for oesophageal cancer be reduced from 25 years to 15 years.
  • The current list of prescribed diseases at subsection 7(8) should be expanded to include malignant mesothelioma with a qualifying period of 15 years.
  • The Attorney-General’s Department should continue to periodically examine the available scientific literature to ensure the list of prescribed diseases remains consistent with current science, with a particular focus on female reproductive cancers, malignant melanoma and lung cancer in non-smoking firefighters.
  • Lung cancer (whether in smokers or non-smokers) should not be included in the list of prescribed diseases.
  • The firefighter provisions of the SRC Act be extended to persons taken to be employed by the Australian Capital Territory by operation of a declaration made under subsection 5(15) of the SRC Act (volunteer firefighters).
  • Comcare should continue to investigate measures that provide more timely access to compensation for claimants under the firefighter provisions.

Review of the firefighter provisions of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act)

Terms of reference

The review inquired into and reported on whether the firefighter provisions of the SRC Act were appropriate in light of developments in the scientific literature and any other new information. In particular whether:

  • the qualifying periods for the current list of prescribed cancers should be reduced
  • there are any further diseases that warrant inclusion in the list prescribed at subsection 7(8) of the SRC Act
  • lung cancer in non-smokers should be included among the listed cancers and, if so, any appropriate qualifying conditions
  • the presumption of liability for prescribed cancers should be expanded to include volunteer firefighters and, if so, any appropriate qualifying conditions.

The review also considered if the determination process applied to claims by firefighters for the prescribed cancers continues to achieve the efficiencies intended by the firefighter provisions of the SRC Act.