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Volunteer fire-fighters another example of madness

Roger Sowry

National Transport Spokesperson

6th December 2002

Volunteer fire-fighters another example of OSH Bill madness

The fact that volunteer fire-fighters will still be liable under the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Bill is just a further indication that the Government's amendments regarding volunteers do not go far enough, says National Party Industrial Relations spokesperson Roger Sowry.

"These fire-fighters put their lives on the line every day, and now they will potentially be liable for massive fines if something goes wrong. Volunteer Fire Chiefs can often be in charge of a whole incident scene -
and being in charge can potentially make them liable for the safety of everyone there," said Mr Sowry.

"Why would you want to be a volunteer fire chief now? Is it worth risking the massive fines?

"This issue raises another point about the bill that very few people were familiar with. The volunteers themselves may be liable for fines of up to $250,000, because the principal act includes a section which makes employees liable for endangering themselves or any other person.

"Of course, this level of fines extends to every employee out there - not just volunteers. Perhaps the Union bosses so staunchly defending this legislation should explain that to their memberships.

"This bill continues to throw up flawed clauses that potentially endanger the public or penalise the most vulnerable organisations in our community. It is time the bill was withdrawn," says Roger Sowry.


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