Will Hodgman

Premier of Tasmania



23 October 2016

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health

Government takes action to protect frontline workers against serious assaults

This week in Parliament the Hodgman Government will introduce legislation to extend our legislation for mandatory jail sentences for serious assaults to apply to more frontline workers.

The current legislation applies to Police.

The bill covers ambulance officers, paramedics, nurses and midwives, child protection workers and correctional staff and makes it clear that we will not tolerate violence, threats or intimidation towards those who work hard every day to deliver vital services to the community.

If passed by Parliament, anyone who commits an offence resulting in serious bodily harm to a frontline worker will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of six months in jail.

These laws extend the strong legislation that the Hodgman Government implemented for police officers, which was opposed by the opposition.

In line with our commitment to protect frontline workers, today I am also pleased to launch a public awareness campaign which graphically sends the message that paramedics cannot fight to save someone's life if their own safety is at risk.

The paramedic-specific campaign will feature a television commercial, social media advertising, and static advertising on the rear of ambulance vehicles.

It is an unapologetically confronting advertisement designed to send a simple message - Keep Your Hands Off Our Ambos. This will be the first time the campaign has been aired on television.

Paramedics often have to deal with stressful situations, where people are experiencing heightened emotions.

However, threatening them with violence, being aggressive, or resorting to violence is totally unacceptable and the cost could be measured in the loss of someone's life.

The Hodgman Liberal Government has also rolled out a training program designed to equip ambulance paramedics with greater skills in situational awareness, risk reduction and self protection using Tasmania Police trainers.

Assaults on frontline workers are completely unacceptable and the Government is taking strong action through a range of targeted new measures to make this very clear.

For more information go to ambulance.tas.gov.au/community_information/handsoff which includes a link to the advertisement on You Tube.



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