Firefighters' presumptive rights compensation: Information for claimants
Eligible people engaged in firefighting activities who meet certain requirements can now access presumptive compensation for specified cancers related to their service.
CFA and FRV employees
Eligible CFA and FRV vehicle and equipment maintenance employees can now claim presumptive compensation.
What does presumptive rights mean?
People who satisfy the criteria for presumptive rights now have an entitlement for compensation under Victoria’s Workers' Compensation Scheme (the scheme). It applies to the following people:
career and volunteer firefighters engaged by Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) and Country Fire Authority (CFA)
vehicle and equipment maintenance employees engaged by FRV and CFA
occupational and surge forest firefighters engaged by Forest Fire Management Victoria (effective from 14 September 2022)
This means if these people are diagnosed with a specified cancer outlined below and they satisfy the relevant criteria, they no longer need to prove that the cancer is directly attributable to their service.
The presumption applies unless it can be established that the cancer was not caused by their service.
What are the specified cancers and relevant qualifying periods?
The table below lists the 12 specified types of cancers and the qualifying period associated with each cancer.
(Click to clear sorting)
Disease Qualifying period
(Click to sort descending)
Primary site brain cancer
Primary site breast cancer
Primary site testicular cancer
Primary non-Hodgkins lymphoma
Primary site bladder cancer
Primary site colorectal cancer
Primary site kidney cancer
Primary site prostate cancer
Primary site ureter cancer
Primary site oesophageal cancer
How do I know whether I am eligible?
The presumptive compensation applies to relevant firefighters and vehicle and equipment maintenance employees who:
have been diagnosed since 1 June 2016 with one of 12 specified types of cancer (see table below)
have been engaged as an eligible firefighter or vehicle and equipment maintenance employees for the relevant qualifying period
are diagnosed during their service or within 10 years after finishing their service
can demonstrate they attended fires to the extent reasonably necessary to meet the requirements of the presumptive legislation
How is the length of service calculated?
Each partial year of service as a relevant firefighter or vehicle and equipment maintenance employees is counted as a full year of service in recognition that firefighting is often seasonal work.
Previous service as a relevant firefighter or vehicle and equipment maintenance employees and equivalent interstate service count toward the qualifying period.
Claimants without the minimum service period can still qualify if they can demonstrate they attended an exceptional exposure event.
To demonstrate you attended an exceptional exposure event, you need to apply for special consideration.
If your claim is rejected and you have submitted your application for special consideration, the Agent will seek advice on your application from an Advisory Committee.
The Advisory Committee has been established to provide your Agent with an expert opinion on your application for special consideration.
The information the Advisory Committee will look at as part of your application for special consideration are things like:
any relevant findings from a coroner, any court proceedings or other official inquiry regarding an event known to have exposed firefighters to carcinogens
any relevant records, employer data and/or local knowledge
They may directly contact the organisation that engaged you for this information.
The Advisory Committee will provide its expert opinion to the Agent within 60 days from receiving the application.
When the Agent has received the expert opinion, they will reassess your claim and make a decision to accept or reject your claim. It may take up to 10 days for the Agent to get back to you with a decision, which will also include a copy of the expert opinion.
If your application is not accepted, you can dispute the decision. Details on how to do this will be provided in your decision letter.
If you need more help
We want to make things as easy as possible for you during this difficult and distressing time. If you have questions about this process, please contact the WorkSafe Advisory Service or your Agent.
WorkSafe Advisory Service
WorkSafe's advisory service is available between 7:30am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday. If you need more support, you can also contact WorkSafe using the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) or the National Relay Service.