CODE 2, VOL 34, NO 36 : 12 August 2020
PRESUMPTIVE PTSD LAWS INTRODUCED TO QLD PARLIAMENT
In Code 2 Vol: 34 #31 of 24 July 2020 I provided an overview of your union’s work with the state government regarding changes to the workers’ compensation laws to provide for presumption of injury for PTSD injuries with coverage for professional firefighters and auxiliary firefighters, and fire communication officers.
I am pleased to update you that on Wednesday 12 August 2020, a Bill to modify the workers’ compensation laws was introduced to state parliament and referred to a parliamentary committee for consideration.
While introducing the Bill to parliament, Minister Grace stated –
‘Each and every day our first responders are exposed to traumatic incidents that … can take a toll on (their) mental health… (with) workers’ compensation claim rates for first responders…10 times higher than the adult Australian workforce.’
Minster Grace also pointed out that the PTSD presumption of injury extends beyond firefighters to specifically include fire communications officers who whilst not physically responding to incidents, are exposed to the graphic details of traumatic incidents. During the speech to parliament, the Minister also thanked the UFUQ for their advocacy in these matters as the legislation was being developed.
As with the presumption of injury for specific cancers, this is an incredibly important step forward in the recognition of the acknowledged fact that the work you do injures you in different ways to that of the average member of the community. Your work is hazardous, and it takes its toll physically and mentally on your health. Whilst presumptive laws do nothing to prevent or cure your injuries I am pleased that the work of your union is ensuring that if you are injured, the process of obtaining compensation is as simple as we can possibly make it under the workers’ compensation laws we have.
You can find a copy of the Bill and the explanatory notes here (the last Bill in the 2020 section).
I will keep you updated as these laws progress through the parliamentary system.
John Oliver - General Secretary
Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD