In March this year, the NT Government amended a bill to extend insurance cover to firefighters diagnosed with cancer at any point from July 2011, after Jock McLeod steered a campaign for more cover for firefighters.
McLeod was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2013, but recently had his compensation claim denied.
According to the ABC, McLeod’s claim was rejected because it was determined that either:
- he had not sustained an injury out of or in the course of employment with the Northern Territory Government
- if he did sustain an injury, then his employment with the Northern Territory Government was not the real, proximate or effective cause of the alleged injury
However, Kershaw – McLeod’s former employer – said he would defer the NTIO’s decision until he had personally reviewed the case.
“Me as the employer, I make that decision and I haven’t made that decision,” he told the ABC.
“So we’re reviewing that letter and how that process occurred and I’m confident we'll be able to resolve this.
“We just need some further material from [the NTIO] and then I’ll make the decision.”
McLeod said he believed his claim was rejected because it was based on “presumptive legislation”.
“We all thought it was presumed I caught bladder cancer on the job and I would be covered,” he said.
“It looks like the fight’s only half over. It looks like we've got a bit more of a battle.
“And what we thought we had [achieved], we actually haven’t.”
McLeod added that he was anxious that his colleagues would also be let down.
“It impacts across Australia because we’re all in this fight together to be looked after through rehabilitation [and] compensation acts,” he said.
“This will have a rippling effect right across the country.”
McLeod is reportedly planning to appeal the decision.
Reece Kershaw – CEO of the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services – has promised to review the case of a cancer-stricken firefighter who was denied coverage despite indications that his illness may have been work-related.