Miles Government continues to improve workers’ compensation scheme

Published Wednesday, 17 April, 2024 at 11:52 AM

Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing
The Honourable Grace Grace

Miles Government continues to improve workers’ compensation scheme

  • Bill expands the scope of cancers deemed to be work-related for Queensland firefighters
  • Injured workers empowered in their own rehabilitation with faster access to weekly compensation payments
  • Improvements to early intervention and support for workers to prevent the development of secondary psychological and psychiatric injuries
  • Bill provides future flexibility in the Queensland scheme to extend workers’ compensation in line with new federal laws

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace has today introduced the Workers’ Compensation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 into Parliament, following an Independent Review carried out by former QIRC Commissioner Glenys Fisher and Emeritus Professor of Employment Relations at Griffith University Professor David Peetz.

The Bill continues to improve Queensland’s nation-leading workers’ compensation scheme by delivering even better care and support for injured workers, while ensuring the sustainability of the scheme. 

In 2015 the Queensland Labor government changed legislation to create a list of twelve specified cancers that became presumed to be work related for firefighters that met the qualifying period of active service. This change allowed claims to be processed more quickly, reduced the administrative burden on the firefighter, and gave workers access to payments and care when they needed it most.

This Bill recognises the latest medical advice and expands that specified cancer list with an additional ten cancers, giving Queensland the most extensive list of presumed firefighter diseases of any Australian workers’ compensation scheme.

Other changes in the Bill will provide faster access to weekly compensation payments for injured workers by introducing default payments once a claim is accepted, reducing financial stress, and allowing workers to focus on their recovery.

The Miles Government also continues to lead the nation when it comes to gig workers, by providing flexibility for the Minister to regulate the status of gig workers under workers’ compensation laws, once the matter has been determined under new Fair Work Commission powers to regulate workers and businesses in the gig economy.

Other changes in the Bill include:

  • A requirement that a return-to-work plan be developed immediately following claim acceptance;
  • Requiring insurers take all reasonable steps to minimise the chance of a worker developing a secondary psychological injury;
  • Empowering workers to actively participate in the rehabilitation process by allowing them to choose their workplace rehabilitation provider and treating doctors;
  • Requiring employers to provide a regular statement of rights to their workers;
  • Requiring insurers to provide workers and employers a statement of their rights and obligations under the scheme;
  • Amending the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (IR Act) to ensure national consistency when it comes to accessing parental leave; and
  • Changes to ensure a more streamlined appeals process in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace:

“The Miles Government has once again delivered for Queensland workers by strengthening our nation leading workers’ compensation scheme, and I want to thank former Commissioner Fisher and Professor Peetz for their exceptional work.

“I am particularly proud of the expanded list of presumptive cancers which will give certainty to Queensland’s firefighters that they will get the care and support they need.

“Every worker deserves to be safe at work. Queensland gig workers currently operate outside regulation, which means that they can experience workplace injury without being able to access the support of the scheme. This Bill provides flexibility for our government to regulate the status of gig workers under workers’ compensation laws, once the matter has been determined under new Fair Work Commission powers to regulate workers and businesses in the gig economy.

“The Miles Government will never back down from delivering a better deal for Queensland workers and this Bill continues this government’s proud record.

“This is all at risk under the LNP: the Crisafulli-Newman LNP Government stripped away common law workers’ compensation rights from around 9,000 injured workers and since 2015 the LNP has voted against the countless laws and amendments we have introduced to protect and support Queensland workers and their families.”

Quotes attributable to QCU General Secretary Jacqueline King:

"Having access to workers compensation if you’re injured at work is an important right for Queensland workers and their families. These reforms will help improve the administration of the scheme including creating a new right for workers to choose their own rehabilitation provider and medical practitioner to help manage their return to work.

“Host employers will also be required to work with labour hire agencies to help support return to work programs for injured workers.

“Importantly, the bill provides a process to extend the scheme to some gig workers, giving them access to weekly payments and other benefits, instead of the current one-off payouts some gig workers receive.”

Quotes Attributable to UFUQ General Secretary John Oliver:

“Two years ago the World Health Organisation made the historic decision to list the firefighter profession as carcinogenic in itself and the Miles Government has recognised and extended the list of cancers which will be recognised as workplace hazards and injuries for firefighters.

“The UFUQ is pleased our input to the independent review of the Act is being carried through to this historic amendment Bill and we thank Minister Grace and the Miles Government for proposing the most comprehensive presumptive workers’ compensation coverage in Australia.

“Firefighters are proud to work every day and night to protect Queensland and this bill is a great step forward in easing the burden on firefighters when that work results in them contracting one of the proposed additional 10 illnesses.”

Further information: 

Related cancers

This is the list of cancers that will be presumed to be workplace related when diagnosed in firefighters.

The figures indicate the minimum number of years of service as a firefighter required for the cancer to be presumed to be a workplace injury.

If a firefighter served fewer than that numbers of years before cancer was diagnosed, they would still be able to apply for workers' compensation but would have to demonstrate the cancer was work-related.


 Multiple myeloma, 15 years

Primary site bladder cancer, 15 years

Primary site brain cancer, 5 years

Primary site breast cancer, 10 years

Primary site colorectal cancer, 15 years

Primary site kidney cancer, 15 years

Primary site leukaemia, 5 years

Primary site non-Hodgkins lymphoma, 15 years

Primary site oesophageal cancer, 15 years (changed from 25 years)

Primary site prostate cancer, 15 years

Primary site testicular cancer, 10 years

Primary site ureter cancer, 15 years


Asbestos related disease, 15 years

Malignant mesothelioma, 15 years

Primary site cervical cancer, 10 years

Primary site liver cancer, 15 years

Primary site lung cancer, 15 years

Primary site ovarian cancer, 10 years

Primary site pancreatic cancer, 10 years

Primary site penile cancer, 15 years

Primary site skin cancer, 15 years

Primary site thyroid cancer, 10 years

Background information:

The Queensland Government published the final report (PDF, 3.59 MB) of an independent review of Queensland's workers' compensation scheme. The 2023 review is the third independent review of the scheme.

The review found the scheme is still strong and identified several opportunities to address scheme trends and improve the workers’ compensation process for workers.

The review was informed by consultation with key stakeholders including registered industrial organisations, employers, insurers, and the legal, medical and allied health professions.

Read the Queensland Government response to the recommendations of the 2023 review.

Further details on the decision on coverage of gig workers can be read in the published Decision Impact Analysis Statement.


Media contact – Kim Sweetman – 0457 600 237