12:24 pm, Tuesday 27 March, 2012
Former firefighters Doug Bower, Pat Mildren and Noel Lee.
Photo: Townsville Bulletin
Former RAAF firefighters who have been diagnosed with cancer and other associated health problems believe that their illness was caused by years of burning dangerous chemicals in training activities. The group, led by RAAF Association Townsville branch president Pat Mildren are calling on others who have been affected to speak up and make a submission for a new report to be handed to the government ministers.
Mr Mildren who is suffering from bowel and bladder cancer said that the chemicals, tyres, fuels and discarded vehicles they used in their training fires from 1956 to the late 1980s have caused their health problems. The activities were conducted at Point Cook Training School in Victoria and in other RAAF bases around the country and in nearby Pacific countries.
According to Townsville Bulletin, the group of former firefighters are demanding the Federal Government to do an inquiry into the health of firies who participated in these training fires and to determine once and for all if their health conditions were caused by the chemicals.
Mr Mildren submitted a report to Defence Science and Personnel Minister Warren Snowdon whose office referred him to a series of Existing Acts. But Mr Mildren said that these legislations didn’t sufficiently protect the firefighters. The Fair Protection for Firefighters Bill 2011 covers cases to a cumulative period of service between 1988 and 2004 and the condition must have first manifested after July 2011, counting out Mr Mildren and many of his mates.
“I and several of my colleagues have for many years attempted to obtain liability through the DVA process for a vast array of medical complaints as a direct result of exposure to an extremely large number of chemicals with little or no success,” said Mr Mildren.
Those who want to make a submission to the report are encouraged to contact Pat Mildren at email@example.com.