The Hodgman Liberal Government believes Tasmania’s hard working paramedics and other emergency workers are entitled to work free from violence and threats of assault.

Such behaviour is deplorable and unacceptable and I can assure Tasmanians that the safety of patients and emergency service staff is the highest priority.

The Government is committed to taking action to better protect those Tasmanians working in challenging environments, particularly those that face the threat of assault for simply doing their jobs.

We have clearly demonstrated this with the successful passage through both Houses of Parliament of legislation to allow for minimum mandatory sentences for serious assaults on police officers.

A 12 month review of the legislation is about to commence and as part of this process we will look at how best to extend those provisions to other emergency workers, including paramedics.

No one goes to work to be assaulted, spat on, sworn at or abused. Paramedics face challenging situations every day and should not have to encounter this sort of behaviour.

That is why we’re also giving paramedic crews extra support in the event they are targeted by inappropriate behaviour, including a new computer duress system that was brought on line in the State Communications Centre earlier this year.

We have successfully trialled on-board computer systems with additional duress devices and these are being rolled out this financial year, and Ambulance Tasmania is providing additional portable radios for urban crews.

Ambulance Tasmania has in place a range of staff safety policies including Zero Tolerance to Violence and Paramedic in Danger Procedures, and additional mandatory training has been introduced including dynamic risk assessment, de-escalation techniques and occupational violence prevention.

It is up to the community to heed the Zero Tolerance message and understand that violence against ambulance officers and paramedics is never acceptable and can place lives at risk.

We need the community to work with us and behave responsibly to ensure the safety of our vital emergency service workers is protected.

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