The Queensland parliament has passed a bill to make it easier for first responder emergency workers to seek treatment, early intervention and compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Thousands of the state’s frontline workers including paramedics, ambulance responders, police officers, firefighters, trauma care doctors and nurses, SES personnel, and corrections officers will be able to access compensation for PTSD under new changes to the law that categorises claims of this kind as work-related.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said that first responders were exposed daily to traumatic incidents and that these new laws would provide Queensland’s emergency workforce with support when it was needed.
“Under the new laws, it will be much easier for first responders to come forward and seek treatment and early intervention,” Grace said.
“It will also go a long way to reducing the stigma first responders have about the impact of a claim on their job prospects, or how they are perceived in their workplace.”
The industrial law reforms will allow responders to get immediate treatment for PTSD and means they will be eligible to apply for benefits under Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme.
“This is also a win for the families of first responders, whose rate of mental health conditions is 10 times higher than the Australian workforce generally,” Grace added.
“We must do all we can to support those who support Queenslanders each and every day.”
A statement released by the Palaszczuk government said other industrial reforms it had championed during its time in power included extending workers’ compensation coverage to unpaid interns, and ensuring that workers suffering from psychological injuries were eligible for support services while a determination of their compensation claim was underway.