The Hodgman Liberal Government is committed to supporting our police officers, who put themselves at risk to protect Tasmanians everyday.
That’s why I have today tabled the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment Bill 2019. This fulfils the Government’s election commitment to remove workers compensation step-down provisions for police officers who are on workers compensation as a result of operational-related injuries, meaning they will continue to receive 100 per cent of their pay.
Policing is a unique occupation and this Bill recognises that a police officer’s duty requires them to put public safety ahead of their own. They do so in circumstances where the injuries sustained can be a consequence of being violently attacked.
Policing is not an occupation where risk mitigation measures can always be put in place. This reflects the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the situations police officers are so often faced with.
The Government acknowledges there are other occupations whose members suffer injuries while providing services for the public. However, policing is the only occupation where members actually take an oath of office to cause the peace to be kept and preserved and to prevent all offences against persons and properties in Tasmania.
This oath often requires our sworn police officers to routinely attend situations of violence, which they are unable to retreat from and where it is common for that violence to be redirected at and targeted toward them.
The Liberal Party has been fighting for this change to the law since 2008, based on the uniqueness of policing, and has been opposed by Labor.
This week, we are also debating legislation to ensure that off-duty police officers have the same legal protections as on-duty police officers, an important legislative protection that Labor have indicated they will oppose.
The Government thanks our hardworking police for their dedication to protecting Tasmanians and keeping us safe.