Bulletin No: 043 | 15 April 2019
TO: ALL UFU MEMBERS
UFU LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO PUT AN END TO TOXIC CHEMICAL DUMPSITES
Today, the UFU commenced a campaign to seek legislation to make persons responsible for illegal toxic dumping accountable by law.
The current legislative structure does not provide a vehicle to ensure that there is a strong enough deterrent to prevent persons engaging in this criminal behaviour.
The Union has today written to Premier Andrews Gov requesting support for dedicated legislation to protect firefighters from what is becoming an ever-increasing criminal business model of illegal transporting and stockpiling of chemical waste.
The Union is seeking the following to be included in legislation:
- Criminal sanctions inclusive of incarceration;
- The ability for significant penalties against companies, their directors and persons associated with a company engaged in the illegal activity;
- The ability for firefighters and/or their families to sue persons individually who are responded for engaging in illegal transporting and dumping of chemical waste.
Recent events have made it clear that perpetrators behind this ever-increasing business model of illegal dumping have done so within a company structure that effectively is devoid of assets, hence the Union is seeking to make the individuals accountable by law with civil litigation for firefighters who become ill as a result of having to combat fires involving illegal transportation and dumping.
It is well-known and irrefutable that career firefighters are more susceptible to certain types of cancer-related illness as a result of their exposure to toxic plumes in protecting the community. This was confirmed by the Australian Senate in 2011 and is well-documented.
Premises that house toxic chemicals/waste are supposed to be placarded by law to enable responding firefighters and officers to ascertain what is inside the building to enable them to take the appropriate precautions.
When it comes to illegal transportation and stockpiling of chemical waste, there is no such placarding and, indeed, the Union has labelled this reprehensible behaviour as akin to a premeditated ambush or a death trap.
We have had a number of members suffer adverse consequences as a result of fighting fires involving toxic chemical waste. Had there not been such conduct engaged by unscrupulous perpetrators, then such exposure would not have happened.
In short, the persons responsible must be pursued to the fullest extent of which the Union is seeking legislation, not only as a deterrent, but indeed as a way of making those responsible accountable with the most severe sanctions possible for injuring and exposing firefighters unnecessarily and recklessly.
The Union will also be launching a public awareness campaign to engage members of the community and business to identify illegal dumping sites and/or persons responsible via Crime Stoppers.
Link to Channel 9 Today Show interview: https://vimeo.com/330373053
For any further information, contact Branch Secretary Peter Marshall on 0419 127 004.
Strength in Unity
READ OUT AT MUSTER AND PIN ON NOTICE BOARD
Authorised by Peter Marshall, Branch Secretary