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AESM Vol 29, ISSUE 2 2022

The latest Australian Emergency Services Magazine Vol 29:Issue 2, 2022. The latest in emergency services news and events. In this edition we take a closer look at the recent flooding events and how we can improve response time and recovery efforts. You can read about the latest recommendations from the VEOHRC in regards to the independent review of Ambulance Victoria. Dr Lisa Holmes discusses how we cope with change in the 'Let's Talk Mental Health' column. Plus so much more, latest events, "In the Spotlight" and Emergency Breaks and our book review column. Free to subscribe through the website www.ausemergencyservices.com.au

The latest Australian Emergency Services Magazine Vol 29:Issue 2, 2022. The latest in emergency services news and events. In this edition we take a closer look at the recent flooding events and how we can improve response time and recovery efforts. You can read about the latest recommendations from the VEOHRC in regards to the independent review of Ambulance Victoria. Dr Lisa Holmes discusses how we cope with change in the 'Let's Talk Mental Health' column. Plus so much more, latest events, "In the Spotlight" and Emergency Breaks and our book review column. Free to subscribe through the website www.ausemergencyservices.com.au

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VOL <strong>29</strong>: <strong>ISSUE</strong> 2, <strong>2022</strong><br />

SHARED<br />

RESPONSIBILITY<br />

IN NATURAL<br />

DISASTERS<br />

SCIENCE TO GUIDE<br />

OUR RELATIONSHIP<br />

TO NATURE<br />

WOMEN’S POLICE<br />

STATIONS - WOULD<br />

THEY WORK?<br />

A FURTHER 19 RECOMMENDATIONS<br />

FROM VEOHRC FOR AMBULANCE<br />

VICTORIA


Violence and aggression<br />

are never OK.<br />

Report it to help create<br />

a safer workplace.<br />

There’s no excuse for violence or aggression.<br />

No matter the situation, it’s never OK.<br />

How to report aggressive and violent behaviour in your workplace:<br />

worksafe.vic.gov.au/itsneverok


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FEATURE<br />

CONTENTS<br />

Coming Of Age:<br />

Old forests are 3 times<br />

less flammable than<br />

those just burned<br />

FEATURE<br />

Science to Guide<br />

our Relationship to<br />

Nature<br />

CEO of Natural Hazards<br />

Research Australia,<br />

Dr Richard Thornton,<br />

reflects on the floods in<br />

Queensland and NSW<br />

21<br />

23<br />

Flood-affected members of the Lismore, New South Wales community. Image: www.defence.gov.au<br />

FEATURE<br />

Sleep Loss and<br />

Paramedics &<br />

Health Care Workers<br />

13<br />

Women’s Police<br />

Stations in Australia<br />

Shared<br />

Responsibility in a<br />

Natural Disaster<br />

First responders and<br />

health-care workers are<br />

especially vulnerable to<br />

emotional fatigue due<br />

to shift work, long hours<br />

and the overall stressful<br />

nature of their jobs.<br />

33<br />

Keeping Veterans Out<br />

of Jail<br />

The proposal to establish<br />

women’s police stations<br />

has received a strong<br />

platform in mainstream<br />

media and academic<br />

journals in regards to<br />

combating domestic<br />

violence.<br />

Governments love<br />

to talk about ‘shared<br />

responsibility’ in a natural<br />

disaster, but what does it<br />

really mean?<br />

27<br />

The royal commission<br />

investigates the risk factors<br />

around veterans’ mental<br />

health, it is missing a key<br />

part of the puzzle: contact<br />

with the criminal justice<br />

system<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au<br />

9


THE REGULARS<br />

• Editor’s Note<br />

3<br />

• Recent Events<br />

Beyond the Uniform<br />

National Resource Sharing Capability<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>unteer Week <strong>2022</strong><br />

CFA Remembers the Fallen<br />

• Emergency Law with Dr Michael Eburn<br />

• A Review of Disaster Funding<br />

• Let’s Talk Mental Health with Dr Lisa Holmes<br />

• “What Address Do You Need Police? - A Poem<br />

• On the Frontline - <strong>Vol</strong> II Recommendations VEOHRC<br />

• In the Spotlight - Kieran Loughlan<br />

• <strong>AESM</strong> Book Reviews<br />

• Emergency Breaks - Perisher<br />

4<br />

5<br />

6<br />

6<br />

7<br />

13<br />

15<br />

21<br />

31<br />

39<br />

41<br />

43<br />

DOWNLOAD THE<br />

<strong>AESM</strong> APP<br />

Stay connected and up<br />

to date on all the latest<br />

emergency services news<br />

on the website PLUS have<br />

access to the magazine via<br />

our dedicated App on both<br />

Apple IOS and Google<br />

Android platforms<br />

LET’S TALK MENTAL HEALTH<br />

Dr Lisa Holmes - Unit Coordinator and<br />

Lecturer Paramedical Science. Edith Cowan<br />

University. Course Coordinator Master,<br />

Graduate Diploma and Certificate of<br />

Disaster & Emergency Response.<br />

MAGAZINE CONTACTS<br />

EMERGENCY LAW<br />

Dr Michael Eburn - PHD, leading expert in<br />

law relating to emergency management &<br />

emergency services.<br />

Editorial Content<br />

editor@ausemergencyservices.com.au<br />

Advertising Enquiries<br />

advertise@ausemergencyservices.com.au<br />

Distribution Enquiries<br />

distribution@ausemergencyservices.com.au<br />

POSTAL ADDRESS:<br />

Suite 112, Locked Bag 1<br />

ROBINA TC, QLD 4230<br />

IN THE SPOTLIGHT<br />

EMERGENCY BREAKS<br />

Each edition features a<br />

profile on a person, team,<br />

partnership, squad or unit<br />

to showcase their unique<br />

contribution to the Emergency<br />

Services industry.<br />

Explore local surrounds, or<br />

new places that are only a<br />

short plane trip or drive away,<br />

so you can maximise every<br />

minute of those days when<br />

your name doesn’t appear<br />

next to a call sign on the roster<br />

Scan Me<br />

to download the <strong>AESM</strong> App<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


www.ausemergencyservices.com.au<br />

DISCLAIMER<br />

The Australian Emergency Services Magazine<br />

is a community educational resource<br />

publication and does not promote itself<br />

as a charity or fund raising institution, nor<br />

solicit on behalf of charities and is no way<br />

financially supported by or associated<br />

with any government, union or similar<br />

institution. The Australian Emergency Services<br />

Magazine is an independent publication that<br />

is not associated with any services or similar<br />

entities.<br />

Distribution of the publication is Bi-Monthly<br />

and is circulated via a database of interested<br />

parties, including business, subscribers,<br />

advertisers, volunteer organisations,<br />

emergency service sectors, emergency<br />

and disaster management, government,<br />

universities, TAFE and council libraries. A<br />

print and digital magazine is distributed to a<br />

targeted database in each State & Territory.<br />

Every effort is made to ensure that material<br />

presented in the Australian Emergency<br />

Services Magazine was correct at the time of<br />

printing and is published in good faith, no<br />

responsibility or liability will be accepted by<br />

Boothbook Media.<br />

The views and opinions expressed are<br />

not necessarily those of Boothbook<br />

Media and its employees. The content of<br />

any advertising or promotional material<br />

contained within the Australian Emergency<br />

Services Magazine is not necessarily an<br />

endorsement by Boothbook Media.<br />

Published by Boothbook Media<br />

ABN:72 605 987 031<br />

BOOTHBOOK MEDIA<br />

DIGITAL MEDIA & MARKETING<br />

WANT TO CONTRIBUTE?<br />

We are always looking for new<br />

and relevant content that<br />

our readers will enjoy. If you<br />

would like to be featured in<br />

the magazine there are many<br />

options. You may have a story<br />

you would like to share, or<br />

perhaps be featured in our “In<br />

the Spotlight” regular column.<br />

Please submit all articles or<br />

expressions of interest to the<br />

Editor for consideration at:<br />

editor@ausemergencyservices.<br />

com.au<br />

Articles should be no more than<br />

1000 words and be relevant<br />

to the content within the<br />

Australian Emergency Services<br />

Magazine.<br />

3<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


RECENT EVENTS<br />

R U OK? has shared a<br />

powerful story highlighting<br />

the importance of peer and<br />

social support for police<br />

and emergency services<br />

workers and volunteers.<br />

It’s a difficult time for<br />

many Australians. The<br />

east coast is dealing with<br />

the deluge of record<br />

rainfall and flooding, while<br />

bushfires and heat wave<br />

conditions recently affected<br />

communities in the west of<br />

the country.<br />

ARE<br />

THEY<br />

TRIPLE<br />

OK?<br />

ARE<br />

THEY<br />

TRIPLE<br />

OK?<br />

While the physical damage<br />

is obvious, it’s sometimes<br />

harder to recognise<br />

the emotional toll of<br />

a natural disaster and<br />

this is especially true for<br />

those in the emergency<br />

services who are working<br />

in challenging conditions to<br />

help others.<br />

Husband and wife, Carlee<br />

and Mark, are serving<br />

police officers and have<br />

shared their personal<br />

stories for ‘Are They<br />

Triple OK?’; an R U OK?<br />

initiative that provides free<br />

practical resources to build<br />

confidence in supporting<br />

colleagues and family/<br />

friends both at home and<br />

in the workplace.<br />

“When a crisis arises, the<br />

first people to respond are<br />

our emergency services<br />

workers and volunteers,”<br />

said Katherine Newton,<br />

R U OK? CEO. “While<br />

the job can be incredibly<br />

rewarding, working in a<br />

high-pressure environment<br />

with exposure to traumatic<br />

incidents can take its toll.<br />

“‘Are They Triple OK?’<br />

provides tools and tips to<br />

help us look beyond the<br />

uniforms so we can provide<br />

meaningful connection and<br />

support.”<br />

Carlee and Mark have<br />

shared their experience of<br />

the challenges, how they<br />

navigate these as a couple<br />

and as parents, what they<br />

do to support their mental<br />

Look beyond the uniform of your peers and<br />

family and friends in the emergecy services<br />

and ask “are you OK?”<br />

Learn more ruok.org.au<br />

wellbeing, and how family<br />

and friends can check in<br />

on police and emergency<br />

services workers and<br />

volunteers.<br />

“Our jobs centre on<br />

controlling and managing<br />

incidents, emergencies,<br />

and critical situations,” said<br />

Carlee. “This means we<br />

also need to control certain<br />

feelings and emotions to<br />

get the job done. When you<br />

need help yourself, it’s hard<br />

to ask.<br />

“For that reason, it can<br />

be a lot easier to talk<br />

when someone checks in,<br />

because it’s an invitation to<br />

open up,” she said.<br />

Friends, family, and peers<br />

are in a unique position<br />

to recognise when an<br />

emergency services worker<br />

may be going through a<br />

tough time.<br />

BEYOND THE UNIFORM<br />

How to check in with family and friends<br />

in the emergency services<br />

“When you know someone<br />

well, you can usually tell<br />

when they’re a bit ‘off’<br />

or not themselves,” said<br />

Mark. “They might be<br />

more withdrawn, shorttempered,<br />

or experiencing<br />

strains in relationships,<br />

which are usually signs<br />

there is more going on.”<br />

“A conversation has the<br />

power to break the cycle<br />

and change (and in some<br />

cases save) someone’s life.<br />

If you’re wondering when<br />

the ‘perfect time’ is to ask,<br />

it’s anytime. The important<br />

thing is that you ask.”<br />

R U OK? resources<br />

include a conversation<br />

guide and personal<br />

stories from police and<br />

emergency services<br />

workers and volunteers<br />

that demonstrate the life<br />

changing impact of an R U<br />

OK? conversation.<br />

Look beyond the uniform of your peers and<br />

family and friends in the emergecy services<br />

and ask “are you OK?”<br />

Learn more ruok.org.au<br />

If you notice the signs<br />

that someone might be<br />

struggling with life’s ups<br />

and downs, it’s important<br />

to trust your gut, reach out<br />

and ask “are you OK?”<br />

Carlee and Mark’s stories<br />

can be found at ruok.org.<br />

au along with the free ‘Are<br />

They Triple OK?’ resources.<br />

‘Are They Triple OK?’ was<br />

developed in response to<br />

Beyond Blue’s nationwide<br />

‘Answering the call’<br />

survey[1] which found<br />

more than half of all police<br />

and emergency services<br />

employees indicated<br />

they had experienced a<br />

traumatic event that had<br />

deeply affected them<br />

during the course of their<br />

work.<br />

R U OK<br />

www.ruok.org.au<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au 4


RECENT EVENTS<br />

NATIONAL RESOURCE SHARING CAPABILITY FOR<br />

EMERGENCY SERVICES TO BE BOOSTED FOLLOWING<br />

BUDGET ANNOUNCEMENT<br />

AFAC, the National Council<br />

for fire and emergency<br />

services, welcomes the<br />

Budget announcement<br />

committing $1.7m to the<br />

National Resource Sharing<br />

Centre (NRSC), made by<br />

Minister for Emergency<br />

Management and National<br />

Recovery and Resilience<br />

Senator the Hon Bridget<br />

McKenzie.<br />

The NRSC, operated<br />

by AFAC with state<br />

and territory fire and<br />

emergency services,<br />

facilitates the sharing of<br />

resources in Australia and<br />

internationally in response<br />

to a disaster event.<br />

AFAC President and<br />

NSW State Emergency<br />

Service Commissioner<br />

Carlene York APM said:<br />

“The NRSC allows states<br />

and territories to come<br />

together in a coordinated<br />

way and ensure that<br />

when times are tough,<br />

our dedicated emergency<br />

services personnel can<br />

be supplemented by<br />

our partners across the<br />

country.”<br />

“The NRSC was vital in<br />

helping NSW respond to<br />

both the February floods<br />

and the current flooding<br />

situation.”<br />

“The investment continues<br />

the important partnership<br />

that AFAC has built with<br />

the Australian Government<br />

through such things as the<br />

National Aerial Firefighting<br />

Centre and the Australian<br />

Institute for Disaster<br />

Resilience,” she said.<br />

AFAC CEO Rob Webb<br />

said: “Fire and emergency<br />

services across the<br />

country are united in their<br />

commitment to help keep<br />

Australians safe. Disasters<br />

know no borders, and this<br />

additional funding will allow<br />

the states and territories<br />

to collectively respond<br />

to escalating disasters,<br />

whenever and wherever<br />

they occur.”<br />

“The funding will allow<br />

us to provide even more<br />

services to support the<br />

sector in times of need. We<br />

look forward to working<br />

with Department of<br />

Home Affairs, Emergency<br />

Management Australia to<br />

deliver these important<br />

services,” he said.<br />

The NRSC was responsible<br />

for moving hundreds of<br />

specialised personnel<br />

from across the country<br />

to Queensland and NSW<br />

in February including<br />

swift water rescue<br />

technicians and flood<br />

boat crews, incident<br />

management specialists,<br />

field crews, command and<br />

administration staff, storm<br />

crews and community<br />

liaison officers. The<br />

NRSC has recently reactivated,<br />

with more than<br />

20 personnel currently<br />

in NSW, including fleet<br />

technicians, in-water<br />

teams, jurisdictional liaison<br />

officers and deployment<br />

managers.<br />

The new investment will<br />

be used to better plan,<br />

prepare and deploy<br />

resources in Australia and<br />

overseas, while keeping<br />

in close contact with the<br />

Australian Government’s<br />

National Situation Room.<br />

AFAC: The National Council<br />

for Fire and Emergency<br />

Services<br />

5<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


RECENT EVENTS<br />

NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

16-22 MAY <strong>2022</strong><br />

Better Together<br />

National <strong>Vol</strong>unteer Week <strong>2022</strong> Sponsors<br />

Better Together<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>unteering brings people together; it<br />

builds communities and creates a better<br />

society for everyone.<br />

National <strong>Vol</strong>unteer Week is a chance for all<br />

of us to celebrate and recognise the vital<br />

work of volunteers and to say thank you.<br />

Together, through volunteering, we are<br />

changing communities for the better.<br />

We are, Better Together.<br />

volunteeringaustralia.org<br />

There’s only two weeks to<br />

go until Australia’s premier<br />

annual celebration of<br />

volunteering, National<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>unteer Week. Join us<br />

this 16-22 May <strong>2022</strong> as<br />

we celebrate the power<br />

of volunteering to bring<br />

people together, build<br />

communities and create a<br />

better society for everyone.<br />

National <strong>Vol</strong>unteer Week is<br />

a chance to recognise the<br />

vital work of volunteers and<br />

to say thank you. Together,<br />

through volunteering, we<br />

are changing communities<br />

for the better. We are,<br />

Better Together.<br />

Resources are available for<br />

everyone to use and we<br />

encourage all volunteer<br />

involving organisations<br />

to proudly promote the<br />

upcoming celebrations<br />

and use the resources<br />

widely to help increase the<br />

awareness of the vital role<br />

volunteers play in our lives.<br />

Thank your volunteers this<br />

National <strong>Vol</strong>unteer Week<br />

by sending a free Online<br />

Certificate of Appreciation<br />

directly to your volunteer’s<br />

email.<br />

Share photos of your<br />

National <strong>Vol</strong>unteer Week<br />

celebrations and join<br />

in the conversation on<br />

social media using the<br />

hashtags #NVW<strong>2022</strong> and<br />

#BetterTogether.<br />

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan placing flowers at this years memorial service. CFA Media<br />

CFA REMEMBERS FALLEN<br />

MEMBERS AT<br />

STATE MEMORIAL EVENT<br />

CFA members have come<br />

together with the families<br />

of fallen firefighters to<br />

remember those who have<br />

been lost while protecting<br />

their communities.<br />

The annual memorial service<br />

was held as part of CFA’s<br />

recognition of International<br />

Firefighters’ Day on 4 May; a<br />

global event started by CFA<br />

members to honour those<br />

who have made the ultimate<br />

sacrifice and to thank those<br />

who continue to serve.<br />

This years’ service was held<br />

on Sunday at Federation<br />

University’s Churchill Campus<br />

in Gippsland, and marked the<br />

40th anniversary since the<br />

loss of Churchill firefighter<br />

Darren McLean.<br />

The passing of John Mynard<br />

in 1990 and Doug Henry<br />

in 2005 from the nearby<br />

brigades of Trafalgar and<br />

Glengarry West respectively<br />

were also recognised.<br />

CFA Chief Officer Jason<br />

Heffernan said the annual<br />

memorial service was a fitting<br />

tribute to all firefighters.<br />

“The CFA Roll of Honour<br />

contains the names of 80<br />

firefighters who we will never<br />

forget,” CO Heffernan said.<br />

“This includes 11 Country Fire<br />

Brigades Board and Bush Fire<br />

Brigade Committee firefighters<br />

prior to CFA’s inception, and<br />

69 CFA members all who gave<br />

their lives in service.<br />

“This year we endured another<br />

tragedy in the firefighting<br />

community, with South<br />

Australia’s Country Fire Service<br />

losing volunteer firefighter<br />

Louise Hincks in January.<br />

“Our deepest condolences go<br />

out to her family and friends,<br />

as well as her brigade and<br />

firefighting colleagues.”<br />

International Firefighters’ Day<br />

has been recognised since<br />

1999 and was started by CFA<br />

volunteers following the tragic<br />

loss of five firefighters in Linton<br />

the previous year.<br />

The date coincides with<br />

St Florian’s Day, who is<br />

recognised as the patron saint<br />

of firefighters.<br />

CO Heffernan encouraged all<br />

Victorians to take a moment to<br />

reflect this Wednesday, 4 May.<br />

“International Firefighters Day<br />

allows the world to remember<br />

those who have fallen, and<br />

acknowledge today’s<br />

firefighters who honour that<br />

sacrifice with a continued<br />

commitment and dedication to<br />

protecting their communities.”<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au 6


AUSTRALIAN EMERGENCY LAW<br />

A DISCUSSION<br />

ON THE LAW<br />

THAT APPLIES<br />

TO OR AFFECTS<br />

AUSTRALIA’S<br />

EMERGENCY<br />

SERVICES AND<br />

EMERGENCY<br />

MANAGEMENT<br />

The Australian Emergency Law Blog is back! The online blog is made possible thanks<br />

to the generous financial support from the Australasian College of Paramedicine, the<br />

Australian Paramedics Association (NSW), Natural Hazards Research Australia, NSW<br />

Rural Fire Service Association and NSW SES <strong>Vol</strong>unteers Association.<br />

You can access Dr Michael Eburn’s blog at www.australianemergencylaw.com<br />

Commission cannot order<br />

reinstatement of health<br />

workers dismissed over<br />

COVID vaccination refusal<br />

April 26, <strong>2022</strong><br />

DR MICHAEL EBURN<br />

PhD<br />

Honorary Associate<br />

Professor,<br />

ANU College of Law<br />

Adjunct Associate<br />

Professor,<br />

UNE School of Law<br />

Leading Expert in Law<br />

Relating to Emergency<br />

Management &<br />

Emergency Services<br />

www.australianemergencylaw.com<br />

Griffin v Health Secretary;<br />

Thorncraft v Secretary of the<br />

Department of Education<br />

[<strong>2022</strong>] NSWIRComm<br />

1027 (22 April <strong>2022</strong>)<br />

(Commissioner Murphy)<br />

is another case on covid<br />

vaccines. In this case<br />

the Industrial Relations<br />

Commission had to consider<br />

whether Public Health<br />

Orders, and determinations<br />

made by the Secretaries<br />

of the Ministries of<br />

Education and Health<br />

requiring employees to be<br />

double vaccinated against<br />

COVID-19, affected the<br />

Commission’s capacity to<br />

make orders in cases of<br />

alleged unfair dismissal.<br />

The applicants were 10<br />

health workers, and 2<br />

education workers. All<br />

of ‘the applicants were<br />

dismissed for failing to<br />

comply with a directive from<br />

their employer to become<br />

double vaccinated against<br />

the COVID-19 virus by a<br />

certain date last year [2021]<br />

or to provide evidence of a<br />

medical exemption’ ([8]).<br />

Those who hope the courts<br />

will rule on issues such<br />

as whether there really is<br />

a pandemic or whether<br />

the orders made are<br />

reasonable will continue to<br />

be disappointed. That is not<br />

the function of courts and<br />

certainly not the Industrial<br />

Relations Commission. At<br />

[37] Commissioner Murphy<br />

said:<br />

“… a considerable bulk of the<br />

submissions by some parties<br />

went to the validity and/or<br />

legality and/or enforceability<br />

of the Public Health Orders<br />

and Determinations set out<br />

… above, this Commission<br />

is not the forum in which<br />

to agitate such matters.<br />

These instruments will be<br />

accepted in this jurisdiction<br />

as valid and enforceable<br />

pieces of delegated legislation<br />

unless and until found to be<br />

otherwise in another place.”<br />

The Public Health Orders,<br />

and the departmental<br />

determinations were<br />

in place. The question<br />

before the Commission<br />

was how they affected the<br />

Commission’s jurisdiction,<br />

not whether the Minister or<br />

Departmental Secretaries<br />

either could, or should<br />

have made those orders or<br />

directions.<br />

Education workers<br />

The case for those<br />

employed by the<br />

Department of education<br />

turned on issues of their<br />

employment status as<br />

‘temporary’ employees.<br />

Those cases are not relevant<br />

to the subject matter of this<br />

blog.<br />

Health workers<br />

The Public Health Orders<br />

applied to workers in several<br />

health fields including<br />

paramedicine. The direction<br />

from the Departmental<br />

secretary was more limited,<br />

applying only to employees<br />

of the NSW Health Service.<br />

Both the applicants,<br />

and the Department<br />

agreed that there was<br />

a distinction between<br />

the Minister’s Orders<br />

and the Department’s<br />

determination. The Public<br />

Health Orders required<br />

workers to be vaccinated,<br />

if they were not, they could<br />

not work in the health<br />

field. The determination<br />

from the Department<br />

went further and said that


with Dr Michael Eburn<br />

unvaccinated workers could<br />

not be employed by the<br />

Department. The applicants’<br />

argued that the Commission<br />

could find that dismissing<br />

the employees was ‘harsh,<br />

unjust or unreasonable’ and<br />

could order that they be<br />

reinstated to their jobs even<br />

if they could not, presently,<br />

work. They argued that they<br />

could be employed, but<br />

stood down, until the need<br />

for vaccination was removed<br />

([41] and [42]).<br />

At [48]-[49] Commissioner<br />

Murphy said:<br />

“Each of the applicants in<br />

the public health matters<br />

… would be, if reinstated<br />

to their former position,<br />

classified as a stage 1<br />

health care worker for the<br />

purposes of the … Health<br />

Orders … As such, pursuant<br />

to clause 5 of the Fourth<br />

Health Order, they “must<br />

not do work as a health care<br />

worker unless the worker<br />

has had at least 2 doses of<br />

a COVID-19 vaccine”… In<br />

effect, the Fourth Health<br />

Order, which is currently<br />

in force, would prevent<br />

any of the applicants from<br />

doing the job into which<br />

they may be reinstated or<br />

re-employed by order or<br />

the Commission. This would<br />

render impracticable any<br />

order by this Commission<br />

for reinstatement or reemployment<br />

of any of the<br />

applicants in the public<br />

health matters.<br />

Further, the Health<br />

Determination … has made<br />

it a condition of employment<br />

that all employees of<br />

local health districts, such<br />

as the applicants were<br />

prior to their dismissals,<br />

be double vaccinated<br />

against COVID-19 or hold<br />

a medical contraindication<br />

certificate. It is not open<br />

to the Commission, in this<br />

proceeding, to go behind<br />

the Health Determination<br />

and look at issues such<br />

as the medical and/or<br />

scientific basis or rationale<br />

for the making of the<br />

Health Determination by<br />

the Health Secretary. The<br />

Commission accepts that<br />

the Health Determination<br />

has been validly made and<br />

is now part of the industrial<br />

landscape for workers in<br />

the public health sector.<br />

It would be impracticable<br />

for the Commission to<br />

make orders which purport<br />

to restore the applicants<br />

to employment as NSW<br />

Health Service Employees<br />

… in circumstances where<br />

they do not satisfy an<br />

essential condition of<br />

that employment whilst<br />

they remain unvaccinated<br />

against COVID-19 or without<br />

a medical contraindication<br />

certificate.”<br />

And at [55]:<br />

… no order can be made<br />

in favour of any of the<br />

applicants for reinstatement<br />

or re-employment whilst<br />

they remain unvaccinated<br />

against COVID-19 or without<br />

a medical contraindication<br />

certificate.<br />

Discussion<br />

In an earlier post Requiring<br />

COVID vaccines for emergency<br />

workers(April 1, <strong>2022</strong>) I said<br />

‘where the Minister or Chief<br />

Health Officer has exercised<br />

a power under relevant<br />

Public Health or emergency<br />

management legislation to<br />

issue an order or direction<br />

requiring certain workers<br />

to be vaccinated then the<br />

employer has no choice<br />

but to comply’. This case<br />

continues that line of<br />

jurisprudence. The public<br />

health orders have been<br />

made – unless they are<br />

set aside by a court of<br />

competent jurisdiction (eg<br />

the High Court of Australia)<br />

employers, and in this case<br />

the Industrial Relations<br />

Commission have no choice<br />

but to comply. This case<br />

went further and held that<br />

where an employer (in this<br />

case the Departments) had<br />

set out that it is a necessary<br />

condition of employment<br />

that a person is vaccinated<br />

then the Commission could<br />

not order that the person<br />

be reinstated.<br />

In should be noted that<br />

the Commission did not<br />

decide that it could not<br />

hear an application for<br />

unfair dismissal. There are<br />

other remedies, including<br />

the payment of damages.<br />

The Commission, in this<br />

case, was not entering into<br />

the question of whether<br />

dismissal was unfair, rather<br />

it was considering what it<br />

could do about. Given the<br />

public health orders and<br />

the determination made<br />

by the Secretary (noting<br />

that the power to make<br />

this determination was a<br />

statutory power – Health<br />

Services Act 1997 (NSW) s<br />

116A(1) – not simply matter<br />

This article originally appeared on the<br />

blog Australian Emergency Law (https://<br />

emergencylaw.wordpress.com/) and is<br />

reproduced with the permission of the<br />

author.<br />

As a blog post it represents the author’s<br />

opinion based on the law at the time it was<br />

written. The blog, or this article, is not<br />

legal advice and cannot be relied upon to<br />

determine any person’s legal position. How<br />

the law applies to any specific situation or<br />

of a unilateral alteration to a<br />

contract of employment) the<br />

Commission could not order<br />

that the staff be reinstated<br />

to jobs that they cannot<br />

perform.<br />

As Commissioner Murphy<br />

said (at [57]-[58]):<br />

“This determination …<br />

leaves open the possibility<br />

of orders being made for<br />

compensation… The parties<br />

have not been asked to<br />

address this aspect of the<br />

applications.<br />

Further, the applicants, or<br />

some of them, may wish to<br />

reconsider their position<br />

with respect to vaccination<br />

and become vaccinated<br />

which would potentially<br />

remove the existing barrier<br />

to being employed in the<br />

NSW Health Service.”<br />

event depends on all the circumstances.<br />

If you need to determine legal rights and<br />

obligations with respect to any event<br />

that has happened, or some action that<br />

is proposed, you must consult a lawyer<br />

for advice based on the particular<br />

circumstances. Trade unions, professional<br />

indemnity insurers and community legal<br />

centres can all be a source for initial legal<br />

advice.<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au 8


Author:<br />

Dr Richard Thornton<br />

CEO, Natural Hazards<br />

Research Australia


Science to guide our relationship with<br />

NATURE<br />

CEO of Natural Hazards Research Australia,<br />

Dr Richard Thornton, reflects on the floods in<br />

Queensland and NSW, and how we can improve<br />

our mitigation, response and recovery.


The full force of nature has again<br />

been felt on the east coast, leaving<br />

a trail of death and destruction.<br />

The recent devastating floods in<br />

Queensland and New South Wales<br />

have left many Australians with a<br />

mix of frustration, grief and anger.<br />

Tragically, people lost their lives.<br />

Homes, businesses, infrastructure,<br />

natural environments and<br />

agricultural land have all been<br />

impacted. The recovery process<br />

will be long and difficult and<br />

communities will need tailored<br />

support.<br />

The time has come to cease using the<br />

word ‘unprecedented’. It is unhelpful.<br />

These floods have precedents and<br />

it is inevitable they will occur again,<br />

along with devastating bushfires<br />

and cyclones. Just like the 2019–20<br />

bushfires, these floods should<br />

force us – again – to rethink our<br />

relationship with nature.<br />

Living in some parts of Australia has<br />

always been fraught with danger.<br />

Calls to permanently move people<br />

out of harm’s way sound logical, but<br />

it is just not practical to move every<br />

home or community that could be<br />

threatened. Buybacks of at-risk areas<br />

have been tried in the past at a small<br />

scale, with mixed success. We all love<br />

where we live.<br />

The manifestation of our risk today<br />

has been created by decisions made<br />

in the past. Our decisions today are<br />

creating the risks of the future – we<br />

must make wise ones. We need to<br />

understand the possibilities as well<br />

as the limits to what we can do to<br />

reduce risk in different places.<br />

Climate change creates conditions<br />

that cause severe weather systems to<br />

occur more regularly and intensely,<br />

across a wider area. We can’t keep<br />

repeating response, clean up and<br />

recovery, in an attempt to get things<br />

back to how they were. Business-asusual<br />

is not an option.<br />

FIRSTLY, WE MUST BUILD ON WHAT<br />

WE KNOW.<br />

Our collective knowledge on fire,<br />

flood and storm is large, and we have<br />

hundreds of recommendations from<br />

inquiries and scientific expertise in<br />

weather, engineering and community<br />

behaviour that must guide us. The<br />

Inquiries and Reviews Database,<br />

accessible at tools.bnhcrc.com.au/<br />

ddr/home and created through<br />

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC<br />

research, is a fantastic starting point.<br />

This database will be updated by<br />

Natural Hazards Research Australia<br />

as new inquiries report.<br />

Ballina, NSW - March <strong>2022</strong>: devastating scenes in the clean up following the February floods.<br />

Mitigation is the key to doing things<br />

better today. If I were to tell you<br />

that your house will be inundated<br />

with water tomorrow, you would<br />

immediately think of things to do with<br />

a very reactionary approach. What<br />

if I were to tell you that the same<br />

house would flood a year from today?<br />

Would you act?<br />

Our use of land is critical to reducing<br />

future risk. Hard questions need to<br />

be answered about where and how<br />

to rebuild, that may take longer to get<br />

right. This should take place before,<br />

not during the disaster or in the<br />

immediate aftermath. Research into<br />

the long-term sustainability of our<br />

communities can ensure we are not<br />

repeating mistakes but building on<br />

what works.<br />

SECONDLY, WE MUST FOCUS ON<br />

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW.<br />

Either our knowledge is falling short<br />

or we are unable to act on what<br />

we have learnt. We must do better.<br />

We need to better understand<br />

where most of the impacts were<br />

felt. Past research, including<br />

CRC research from Prof Mehmet<br />

Ulubasoglu, has shown that disasters<br />

disproportionally affect the most<br />

marginalised and vulnerable groups<br />

and can increase the gaps between<br />

the haves and have nots.<br />

We need to be better at predicting<br />

and tracking severe events, managing<br />

landscapes for fire and flood safety,<br />

building smarter houses and other<br />

infrastructure, and preparing our<br />

workforces, both volunteer and paid,<br />

for a future with natural hazards on<br />

increasingly larger scales.<br />

We need to continually improve how<br />

we warn communities, so they can<br />

take action. A warning may be urgent<br />

in the next five minutes. It may be<br />

the weekly weather forecast. It may<br />

be in the historical records that show<br />

an area floods often and with force.<br />

Awareness of risk is built up over the<br />

long-term.<br />

We must base our emergency<br />

management policies and planning<br />

on research and evidence that better<br />

includes a multi-agency and multigovernment<br />

response across large<br />

areas. We must look to Indigenous<br />

knowledge and historical analysis for<br />

new insights.<br />

11<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


Queensland floods in February <strong>2022</strong> Image Credit: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services<br />

At the community level, we need to<br />

find affordable and sustainable ways<br />

of funding our mitigation, response<br />

and recovery. Insurance must be<br />

accessible and affordable, as part of<br />

risk management. If the risk is so high<br />

that properties are uninsurable, that is<br />

of no benefit to the homeowner or the<br />

insurance industry and risks a market<br />

failure.<br />

These areas are part of the focus of<br />

Natural Hazards Research Australia.<br />

We have been asking the question<br />

– what knowledge is needed to<br />

get Australia ready for the next big<br />

disaster, and the next?<br />

This is the research the country needs<br />

to focus on now, to make us safer<br />

and to reduce the economic, social<br />

and environmental impacts of natural<br />

hazards.<br />

Author:<br />

Dr Richard Thornton<br />

CEO<br />

Natural Hazards Research Australia<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au 12


Review of disaster<br />

funding and progress<br />

on the National Risk<br />

Reduction Framework


The Minister for<br />

Emergency Management<br />

and National Recovery<br />

and Resilience, Senator<br />

the Hon Bridget McKenzie<br />

has initiated a review<br />

into the national Disaster<br />

Recovery Funding<br />

Arrangements (DRFA).<br />

Minister McKenzie said<br />

it was important for<br />

transparency, consistency<br />

and accountability to<br />

review the current<br />

arrangements whereby<br />

the Federal Government<br />

provides money to state<br />

governments following a<br />

disaster.<br />

“The joint disaster<br />

funding arrangements are<br />

inherently complex. But<br />

we need to ensure that<br />

taxpayers have confidence<br />

that the current<br />

arrangements ensure that<br />

those Australians in need<br />

are being assisted in a<br />

timely way.<br />

“They also need to<br />

know how requests<br />

are made and for what<br />

purpose, with increased<br />

transparency. Most<br />

importantly, taxpayers<br />

need to know that the<br />

system works for people,<br />

not politicians.” Minister<br />

McKenzie said.<br />

“Over the past decade the<br />

Federal Government has<br />

allocated more than $12<br />

billion following disasters<br />

to the states – but often<br />

it takes years for us to<br />

understand from states<br />

how that money was<br />

spent.”<br />

Minister McKenzie said<br />

the review will consider<br />

reporting requirements<br />

by the states about the<br />

money they spend and<br />

what support has been<br />

provided. It will also<br />

examine whether the<br />

Commonwealth should<br />

withhold funding to states<br />

that fail to report.<br />

“The Australian<br />

Government is committed<br />

to protecting Australians<br />

from natural disasters<br />

and over recent years has<br />

shifted its responsibilities<br />

into resilience and<br />

mitigation.<br />

“But we need to<br />

make it clear what<br />

the Commonwealth’s<br />

responsibilities for<br />

funding are and what are<br />

the states’ responsibilities<br />

– and what costs should<br />

be shared.”<br />

“This review will also<br />

ensure we are more<br />

consistent in how<br />

recovery is delivered,<br />

so that whether you<br />

live in Queensland or<br />

South Australia, the help<br />

you get after a disaster<br />

that is funded by the<br />

Commonwealth is similar.<br />

The review into DRFA<br />

complements work<br />

underway on the second<br />

National Action Plan<br />

under the National<br />

Disaster Risk Reduction<br />

Framework.<br />

The National Disaster Risk<br />

Reduction Framework’s<br />

central premise is that<br />

by changing how we<br />

think about disasters<br />

and working together,<br />

we can take action to be<br />

better prepared and more<br />

resilient for whatever<br />

comes our way.<br />

Progressing the priority<br />

areas of the Framework is<br />

currently driven through<br />

National Action Plans, and<br />

negotiations are already<br />

underway with the states<br />

on the second Plan.<br />

“We will use these<br />

negotiations to<br />

ensure there are clear<br />

obligations, not just on<br />

the Commonwealth,<br />

but on the states and<br />

territories, to building in<br />

resilience and consistency<br />

in all we do to respond to<br />

natural disasters.<br />

“Managing and reducing<br />

risk is key to limiting the<br />

impacts of disasters. Risk<br />

reduction was also a focus<br />

of the Royal Commission<br />

into National Natural<br />

Disaster Arrangements,”<br />

Minister McKenzie said.<br />

Any future National Action<br />

Plan under a Coalition<br />

Government will tie future<br />

funding for the states and<br />

territories to concrete<br />

action on resilience and<br />

mitigation. This includes<br />

action on implementing<br />

the Royal Commission’s<br />

recommendations and<br />

reporting on progress;<br />

better data sharing<br />

for the benefit of all<br />

Australians; adoption<br />

of proven mitigation<br />

strategies such as hazard<br />

reduction burning; and<br />

more focus on resilience<br />

and mitigation in state<br />

and territory planning<br />

systems.<br />

Originally published under CC Licence - Australian Government: Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet<br />

- Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie


Lets<br />

‘<br />

Talk<br />

Mental Health<br />

with Dr Lisa Holmes<br />

Dr Lisa Holmes<br />

PhD<br />

Unit Coordinator and Lecturer Paramedical Science<br />

Course Coordinator Master, Graduate Diploma and<br />

Certificate of Disaster & Emergency Response<br />

APPROACHING AND COPING WITH CHANGE<br />

We have collectively gone through a time of endings and<br />

new beginnings over the last two years. It has been a time<br />

of change in our personal lives, professional lives, in our<br />

communities and across the globe. Change has been the<br />

inevitable outcome, however it is how we approach this<br />

change that can make the difference.<br />

A phrase I often heard when growing up ‘All good things<br />

must come to an end’. It always struck me as having a<br />

negative tone, like the movie or book you don’t want to<br />

finish despite desperately wanting to know what happens,<br />

the playdate you don’t want to end, the visitors you don’t<br />

want to leave ……….<br />

But really is it negative or is it something to do with our<br />

approach to life? Is your cup half empty or half full?<br />

Now I think about it, the ‘good things’ are what our fond<br />

memories are made of, the things we have learnt and the<br />

times that help us through life’s challenges and indeed<br />

mental strain and illness, though they can be hard to reach<br />

at times, they are always there.<br />

Endings can be sad and at times traumatic and we may<br />

deeply miss what has gone but perhaps it would help if we<br />

focused on embraced what is to come. We tend to want<br />

to forget bad times, but do we need to forget them or is<br />

it an opportunity to take strength and wisdom from the<br />

experience and learn how to cope in the future?<br />

Perhaps a more positive saying could be;<br />

‘All good things never really come to an end’ as they live<br />

on in our hearts and minds forever to help us through<br />

sad, bad and mad times. Things evolve because they<br />

exist or have happened, leaving us to make room for new<br />

experiences and learnings even if that means having the<br />

strength for more challenging times.<br />

So I ask, is it all a state of mind? How do we maintain a<br />

positive outlook to endings and loss, whatever that looks<br />

like, with the acceptance of associated emotion and the<br />

need to recover? I guess that’s different for all of us and is<br />

dependant on the situation but having the conversation,<br />

sharing rather than pushing those feelings away has been<br />

proven to help us keep going.<br />

15<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


When looking through the magazine<br />

in preparation for taking over this<br />

column I was reminded of the many<br />

topics that have been discussed, all<br />

of which have given examples of our<br />

strength, ability to support ourselves<br />

and each other, showing that positivity<br />

and acceptance can rise from adversity,<br />

deep sadness and pain. Here are a<br />

few that particularly resonated with<br />

me and echo the importance of these<br />

conversations from acknowledgement<br />

and action on a broad scale to more<br />

personal wellness tips:<br />

VETERANS HAVE POORER MENTAL<br />

HEALTH THAN THE AUSTRALIAN<br />

AVERAGE<br />

‘Ultimately we need to continue to<br />

focus on innovations in the prevention<br />

of and early interventions for mental<br />

health problems among veterans,<br />

including suicidality. In doing so we<br />

must maintain a focus on well-being<br />

outcomes more broadly and not just<br />

on symptoms and conditions, ensuring<br />

our goal remains assisting veterans in<br />

living a meaningful and satisfying life in<br />

all its domains.’<br />

ARE YOU OK? – THE BUSHFIRE CRISIS<br />

AND OUR MENTAL HEALTH<br />

‘So the best thing to do is try to limit<br />

disruptions as much as we can, get<br />

“back to normal” (which can obviously<br />

be difficult when communities have<br />

physically been destroyed). Re-establish<br />

routines as quickly as possibly and reconnect<br />

with familiar support networks,<br />

particularly for children who will benefit<br />

from familiarity and consistency. ‘<br />

STUCK SOMEWHERE BETWEEN<br />

SURVIVING AND THRIVING?<br />

‘One meaningful goal can be as easy as<br />

trying to being honest when someone<br />

asks, “How are you?” Instead of going<br />

straight to our default reply of saying<br />

“Great!” try answering honestly.<br />

“Actually, I’m languishing at the<br />

moment.” ‘<br />

WHY DOES EVERYTHING FEEL WORSE<br />

AT 3:00AM?<br />

‘You are not alone – those gremlins<br />

can be persistent. It is all about how<br />

you talk to yourself. If you are feeling<br />

anxious about the problems you have<br />

journaled about earlier in the day,<br />

remind yourself that you have already<br />

thought about this problem, it is safely<br />

tucked away in your worry journal with<br />

some concrete action items already<br />

planned.<br />

If it is a “new” worry, or an irrational<br />

gremlin that has crept in, the way we<br />

talk to ourselves is still important.<br />

Try to cut back on the negative inner<br />

chatter that tends to go on at 3:00<br />

a.m. and instead, have some positive<br />

affirmations that you can throw back at<br />

the anxiety monster. Yes – I AM a pretty<br />

good person.’<br />

Maybe another iteration of the<br />

saying could be ‘All good things can<br />

continue but may look different’ this<br />

is because we have grown as a result<br />

of the experiences. Endings can be<br />

opportunities for new beginnings which<br />

may be unwanted and uncomfortable<br />

at the start but it is what we do with<br />

them that gives us the real growth.<br />

Our conversations about mental health<br />

and illness have continued to change.<br />

The key here is we are still talking<br />

about it, still sharing, supporting and<br />

accepting. This subject was taboo in<br />

years gone by and to coin another<br />

phrase ‘the cat is out of the bag’, we<br />

know it exists and is very very real.<br />

In recent years I have been encouraged<br />

when reading the terms mental health<br />

and wellbeing used together, which<br />

is a hugely positive step forward from<br />

where we were, with the term ‘mental<br />

health’ often seen as a negative,<br />

conjuring up thoughts and images of<br />

mentally ill people regardless of the<br />

definition being focused on what being<br />

mentally well is.<br />

“a state of well-being in which the<br />

individual realizes his or her own<br />

abilities, can cope with the normal<br />

stresses of life, can work productively<br />

and fruitfully, and is able to make a<br />

contribution to his or her community”<br />

The World Health Organization (WHO)<br />

The struggle of mental health<br />

awareness and the battle to reduce<br />

the stigma has come far but we must<br />

acknowledge we still have a way to go.<br />

So, I leave you with the words from<br />

someone who learnt to live with his<br />

black dog.<br />

‘Now this is not the end. It is not even<br />

the beginning of the end. But it is,<br />

perhaps, the end of the beginning.’<br />

Winston Churchill<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au 16


Governments love to talk about<br />

‘shared responsibility’ in a disaster –<br />

but does anyone know what it means?<br />

The devastating floods in<br />

Queensland and New South Wales<br />

have taken everyone by surprise.<br />

People have been left to fend<br />

for themselves while bickering<br />

governments scrambled to provide<br />

a coordinated and adequate<br />

disaster response.<br />

The intensity of the rainfall<br />

may not have been possible to<br />

predict, but having a clear roles<br />

for governments, emergency<br />

services, the military, the charity<br />

sector, volunteers and individuals<br />

is possible – and absolutely<br />

necessary.<br />

Our research<br />

In upcoming research, we look at<br />

disaster risk reduction policies at<br />

the international, federal, state,<br />

regional and local government<br />

levels. We found all these<br />

policies refer to the principle of<br />

“shared responsibility” – yet none<br />

adequately defines what this<br />

means.<br />

The research involved a detailed<br />

analysis across 12 disaster polices<br />

and pieces of legislation to identify<br />

how vulnerable populations were<br />

protected.


These included the National Disaster<br />

Risk Reduction Framework, the<br />

Australian Disaster Preparedness<br />

Framework and the Australian<br />

Emergency Management<br />

Arrangements.<br />

We found these documents repeat<br />

terms such as “resilience” and<br />

“shared responsibility” without clearly<br />

defining the meaning or process<br />

for implementation. And they fail<br />

to specify who is responsible for<br />

increasing “resilience”.<br />

A move towards individual<br />

responsibility<br />

During the 1990s, there was a<br />

growing sense the public had<br />

become too reliant upon emergency<br />

services and needed to develop their<br />

own disaster management capacity.<br />

A 2004 Council of Australian<br />

Governments report on bushfire<br />

management emphasised the idea<br />

of “shared responsiblity”. From 2011,<br />

the principle of shared responsibly<br />

was embedded across federal and<br />

state disaster policies to signal<br />

individuals and households were<br />

expected to develop their own<br />

disaster resilience.<br />

Academics understand “shared<br />

responsibility” to be about<br />

distributing obligations among<br />

different groups or sectors. But<br />

what sounds reasonable in theory<br />

becomes messy and unworkable in<br />

the midst of a crisis.<br />

Studies have shown shared<br />

responsibility actually means<br />

“diffused responsibility,” making<br />

it more difficult to determine<br />

responsibility – and accountability.<br />

Indeed, our research was unable<br />

to determine who was actually<br />

responsible for helping vulnerable<br />

flood communities prepare for and<br />

respond to disasters. There seemed<br />

to be an assumption that volunteers<br />

and the charity sector would mobilise<br />

as needed.<br />

Emergency Management<br />

Arrangements<br />

For example, the federal<br />

government’s Australian Emergency<br />

Management Arrangements aim<br />

to establish “disaster resilient”<br />

communities.<br />

These guidelines explain the roles of<br />

federal, state and local governments<br />

and households. But the largest<br />

portion of responsibility lies with<br />

individuals. For example,<br />

“It is the role and responsibility of<br />

families and individuals to attain<br />

the highest degree of physical and<br />

financial self-reliance – before, during<br />

and after an emergency.”<br />

These arrangements suggest<br />

government and the volunteer/<br />

charity sector do not have the ability<br />

or the responsibility to fully offset the<br />

economic, social, cultural and human<br />

losses incurred during a disaster.<br />

They also assume the individuals are<br />

responsible for adequate property<br />

and personal insurance. This of<br />

course is highly problematic as<br />

insurance premiums escalate and<br />

become unaffordable and some<br />

regions become uninsurable.<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>unteers, charities and resources<br />

All the legislation we examined<br />

says managing and coordinating<br />

volunteers is a local government job.<br />

But this assumes volunteers<br />

and charities will have adequate<br />

resourcing, skills and capacity to<br />

19<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


handle disaster recovery. The recent<br />

floods have shown much volunteer<br />

activities is are largely unregulated,<br />

with people having to take matters<br />

into their own hands.<br />

This is becoming more common<br />

as structured programs like those<br />

run through charities and state<br />

emergency services struggle to retain<br />

volunteers.<br />

Some of these unregulated<br />

volunteers have literally saved lives.<br />

But some were in need of help<br />

themselves or took advantage of the<br />

situation to loot resources from flood<br />

victims.<br />

Blame games<br />

Shared responsibility is also highly<br />

susceptible to politicisation. We<br />

have seen this play out since the<br />

flood disaster hit, with continued<br />

arguments between state and federal<br />

governments.<br />

Following criticism over the speed<br />

and scale of federal assistance, Prime<br />

Minister Scott Morrison argued<br />

“States obviously respond to<br />

emergencies. They run the SES [State<br />

Emergency Service], they run the<br />

police, they run the hospitals.”<br />

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar<br />

also claimed the federal government<br />

had to wait for state premiers to<br />

declare an emergency and request<br />

federal help before it could send the<br />

military.<br />

This is despite legislation which gives<br />

the federal government power to<br />

declare an emergency unilaterally.<br />

(Incidentally, this law was introduced<br />

following a recommendation from the<br />

bush fire royal commission, following<br />

confusion over responsibility for<br />

emergency declarations).<br />

At the local level, disagreements<br />

have also erupted between opposing<br />

members of local government<br />

as to the adequacy of drainage<br />

infrastructure, emergency alerts and<br />

volunteer coordination.<br />

These politically driven disagreements<br />

are enabled by the ambiguity of<br />

shared responsibility, and ultimately<br />

undermine the effectiveness of<br />

disaster response.<br />

What needs to happen instead<br />

Clearly we need a better<br />

understanding of what “shared<br />

responsibility” actually means.<br />

Questions we need to answer<br />

include:<br />

• Who makes the decision over the<br />

allocation of tasks at each stage<br />

of the disaster?<br />

• Have all relevant groups and<br />

people been included in agreeing<br />

upon this allocation?<br />

• Have duties been communicated<br />

and understood?<br />

• Have allowances been made for<br />

unexpected situations?<br />

Until we have these answers, the<br />

trauma of natural disasters will be<br />

compounded by confusion, inaction,<br />

political blame games and a lack of<br />

resources. And it will be individuals<br />

and vulnerable communities left to<br />

pick up the pieces.<br />

First Published on The Conversation<br />

Authors:<br />

Rowena Maguire<br />

Associate professor, Law School,<br />

Queensland University of Technology<br />

Amanda Kennedy<br />

Professor of Law,<br />

Queensland University of Technology<br />

Annastasia Bousgas<br />

Researcher with the Centre for Justice and<br />

Centre for Waste Free World,<br />

Queensland University of Technology<br />

Bridget Lewis<br />

Associate Professor,<br />

Queensland University of Technology<br />

Melissa Bull<br />

Director, QUT Centre for Justice,<br />

Queensland University of Technology<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au 20


“What address do you need police?”<br />

Poem by ESTA Police Call-Taker,<br />

Marissa (Mujde) Ibrahim at Tally Ho<br />

I prepare myself for the 12 hour shift,<br />

It’s a Saturday night so I’m hoping it’s swift.<br />

“What address do you need police?” I ask<br />

Caller yells “I have a stalker…”<br />

I take a breath and ask again.<br />

“What address do you need police?”<br />

“Victoria,” she replies, and “…he has a mask”<br />

“What’s the address in Victoria?” I ask,<br />

This is not an easy task.<br />

“Oh my god!” she yells, “he’s coming in!”<br />

I hear her yell, this is not fun<br />

I need the address really quick<br />

and now she picks up a stick.<br />

“Don’t put yourself in any danger,<br />

But it’s too late she’s confronted the stranger.<br />

Next call is a domestic, three kids and a mother,<br />

Arguing with a brother.<br />

“What’s the address?” I ask,<br />

The caller ignores my plea and yells “listen to me”.<br />

Caller hangs up but I can’t give up.<br />

Now a neighbour with a knife, this caller is in strife.<br />

Next one is a noise complaint - loud music from next<br />

door.<br />

This caller has a go, says he called five minutes ago.<br />

I tell him police will be there as soon as they can.<br />

What he doesn’t know,<br />

Is that they are at a stabbing again.<br />

Next caller is no stranger,<br />

It’s a police member<br />

Calling to say there’s two in custody<br />

And I breathe a sigh.<br />

Now a nuisance caller full of abuse and laughter,<br />

Holding up the emergency line is no laughing matter.<br />

Next caller yells her partner is in a brawl,<br />

With fists, weapons, and all.<br />

You think of the caller stuck in this,<br />

And the police members going out to this.<br />

And now a mother yells out in anguish,<br />

saying she’s lost her little boy.


Next caller says she is broke,<br />

And wants police to get her smokes.<br />

Says she’s feeling sorrow,<br />

And can pay police back tomorrow.<br />

And now cows on the road have gathered,<br />

Causing a traffic hazard.<br />

Next caller says she’s missed her train,<br />

And demanding a lift home.<br />

Now the caller is screaming,<br />

Says her mum is not breathing.<br />

This caller says her washing machine has flooded<br />

And wants police to help her clean.<br />

I tell her “it’s not a police matter”<br />

And she thinks I’m really mean.<br />

Next one is a cancellation, what a sigh of relief.<br />

The ex-partner has left to her disbelief.<br />

It’s time for my break<br />

So, I breathe as I head out for air.<br />

Hearing the call taker next to me<br />

Asking, “What is your address?”<br />

And I hear her despair.<br />

Now it’s a cat that’s been run over,<br />

I think of my own cat back at home.<br />

I need to stay strong<br />

To focus on what’s going on.<br />

And now an elderly man whose lost his way<br />

Caller says she’ll stay with him<br />

To make sure he doesn’t stray.<br />

Next caller says an offender has just left his house<br />

And gives the address straight away<br />

So, police are on the way.<br />

I ask, “for a description and direction of travel?”<br />

“Useless question” caller replies<br />

And hangs up, despite my tries.<br />

Oh I want to yell, police are on the way<br />

But now they don’t know who to stop<br />

If they pass him along the way.<br />

We try our best to keep you on the phone<br />

And when you get angry<br />

We hear it in your tone.<br />

Now we need a sergeant to bail a few drunks<br />

Next caller is suicidal and says he wants to die.<br />

Tells me “Not to bother, there’s nothing more to try”<br />

Now it’s starting to rain and SES calls are pouring in<br />

again.<br />

Next caller sounds a mess<br />

Saying she’s involved in an assault.<br />

And says “It’s not my fault”<br />

“What’s the address?” I ask,<br />

“I don’t know,” she yells,<br />

“Just get police fast!”<br />

I hear her anger, tears, and fear<br />

But I need the location to get police near.<br />

“Just send the police!” she yells, “before he hits me<br />

again.”<br />

I know she’s distressed so I try again<br />

In the meantime hearing the person hit her again.<br />

Finally, I get the address,<br />

I really did try.<br />

I send it to the dispatch screen<br />

As I breathe and sigh.<br />

I hear the job go out on air,<br />

Thank god, police are nearly there.<br />

I ask some more questions to keep updating police.<br />

I hear her panic as she thinks<br />

I’m delaying police.<br />

Everything we ask is so important, so let us ask<br />

To complete the task.<br />

We’re not holding up the police in any way,<br />

They’re already heading out to help you in every way.<br />

And sometimes we hear the sirens<br />

as they come out to you,<br />

And we give a sigh as we get off the phone from you.<br />

And the police members that come to you,<br />

are very good at what they do.<br />

They’ve probably just come out of a brawl,<br />

and you’d never even know it.<br />

Maybe they’ve just delivered a death message,<br />

and watched a father crumble to his knees.<br />

They’ve probably caught a few crooks along the way,<br />

or talked your best friend out of suicide.<br />

Maybe they’ve just cleared from an armed hold up<br />

Or just left a crash site<br />

and fought with all their might to resuscitate.<br />

You may not believe this but it’s true,<br />

we have our share of sorrows too.<br />

But when you call, it’s all about you<br />

because that’s what we are here to do.<br />

We go through a thousand emotions in a single day<br />

but that’s ok, we’re trained to be that way.<br />

We may not cry with you or act like your best friend<br />

because it’s the police we are here to send.<br />

We actually wonder what happened to you,<br />

and look at the job to check on you.<br />

“The little boy’s been found,” we say,<br />

with the first smile on our faces for the day.<br />

We never know what we are going to hear,<br />

but just remember police are near.<br />

You haven’t called by choice<br />

We can hear it in your voice.<br />

We can’t ask if you’ve had a nice day<br />

Clearly, your day has not turned out that way.<br />

We can’t small talk about the sunny weather,<br />

for when you call none of that is a matter.<br />

We are the Police Call-takers at 000.<br />

We hope you never have to call, but if you do…<br />

We are here and ready to take your call.<br />

“What address do you need police?”


COMING OF AGE: RESEARCH SHOWS<br />

OLD FORESTS ARE 3 TIMES LESS<br />

FLAMMABLE THAN THOSE JUST<br />

BURNED


As coal-fired climate change makes bushfires<br />

in Australia worse, governments are<br />

ramping up hazard-reduction burning.<br />

But our new research shows the practice<br />

can actually make forests more flammable.<br />

We found over time, some forests “thin”<br />

themselves and become less likely to<br />

burn – and hazard-reduction burning<br />

disrupts this process.<br />

What does that mean as Australians face<br />

a more fiery future? Is there a smarter<br />

and more sensitive way to manage the<br />

bushfire risk?<br />

To find out, we looked at the forests of<br />

south-western Australia, where hazard-reduction<br />

burns are very frequent.<br />

Lessons from Black Summer<br />

Hazard reduction burning, also known as<br />

prescribed or controlled burning, is the<br />

practice of deliberately burning off flammable<br />

material in a forest, such as leaf<br />

litter, grasses and shrubs. It aims to slow<br />

the spread of any subsequent bushfires<br />

by reducing the amount of fuel available.<br />

In the summer of 2019-20, the Black<br />

Summer bushfires ravaged Australia’s<br />

south-east. In the decade before the<br />

fires, the New South Wales National<br />

Parks and Wildlife Service doubled the<br />

area of prescribed burns compared to<br />

the previous decade.<br />

In fact, the area of national park burned<br />

that decade was the largest in the state’s<br />

history. But as we now know, it had little<br />

effect.<br />

Where prescribed burns had very recently<br />

been carried out, the bushfires were<br />

marginally less severe, about half of the<br />

time. But the bushfires ultimately burned<br />

ten times more forest than any other<br />

Australian forest fires on record.<br />

Forests control their own flammability<br />

We wanted to measure how past fires –<br />

planned and unplanned – affected the<br />

bushfire risk in the forests of Australia’s<br />

south-west.<br />

This 530,000 hectares of forest spans the<br />

dry jarrah and tuart near Perth, down to<br />

Margaret River and east, through tall wet<br />

karri and tingle forest, to Denmark and<br />

Albany.


We examined official records showing<br />

where fires had burned over 65 years<br />

in national parks. The results were<br />

stark.<br />

Forests were unlikely to burn for five<br />

to seven years after a prescribed<br />

burn. This finding supported earlier<br />

work in the same region. But there’s<br />

more to the story.<br />

Other studies have shown fires<br />

cause a massive flush of understorey<br />

growth in WA’s karri and jarrah<br />

forests.<br />

During bushfires, the understorey is<br />

the main driver of large flames which<br />

cause destructive crown fires.<br />

Our research corroborated these<br />

earlier findings. We found as the understorey<br />

grew back, becoming taller<br />

and denser, fire risk greatly increased<br />

for the next 37 to 49 years.<br />

The trend did not change as the<br />

climate warmed from the 1980s<br />

onward, although the burned area<br />

grew larger.<br />

What about older forests?<br />

Ecologists have long known shrub layers<br />

often “self-thin” as a forest grows.<br />

Past studies in WA have shown 25<br />

years after fire, there were 13 times<br />

fewer shrub stems in karri forests. In<br />

jarrah forests, only a quarter of the<br />

previous understorey fuel remained<br />

50 years after fire.<br />

Since the 1800s in Australia, there<br />

have been concerns that fire, including<br />

prescribed burning, converts<br />

self-thinned understoreys into dense<br />

thickets.<br />

But we didn’t know how self-thinning<br />

affected the flammability of older<br />

forests in Australia’s southwest. Our<br />

research set out to find the answer.<br />

As the below graph shows, 43 to 56<br />

years after a fire, the forests had<br />

thinned their shrub layers. We found<br />

this meant they were, on average,<br />

seven times less likely to carry a<br />

bushfire than forests burned more<br />

recently.<br />

In other words, burning made forests<br />

on average seven times more flammable<br />

for 43 to 56 years.<br />

Graph showing the mass of fine shrubs in a forest in the years following fire, taken from figure 5-7 at<br />

https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/10037. Philip Zylstra<br />

In the hottest and driest climate conditions,<br />

old, self-thinned forests even<br />

out-competed recent prescribed<br />

burns – those up to seven years<br />

old. Bushfires were three times less<br />

likely in old forests than they were in<br />

recent prescribed burns.<br />

Our previous work in the Australian<br />

Alps found similar trends; mature<br />

forests there are dramatically less<br />

likely to burn.<br />

Cooperating with country<br />

Early Australian colonists recorded<br />

many Australian forests as park-like<br />

with open understoreys.<br />

This reflected First Nations’ care<br />

for country. In southwest Australia,<br />

as in many parts of the continent,<br />

Indigenous fire use was precise and<br />

focused. Unlike prescribed burns,<br />

Indigenous practitioners did not<br />

attempt to burn vast areas at once.<br />

Instead, they cooperated with natural<br />

processes such as self-thinning, so<br />

country was allowed to age.<br />

Australia’s forests have controlled<br />

their own fire risk since they were<br />

part of the Gondwana super-continent.<br />

We should respect, rather<br />

than disrupt, these ancient natural<br />

processes.<br />

Cooperating with country today<br />

means moving away from prescribed<br />

burning across large areas. Frequent<br />

burns may be useful only close to<br />

homes, or in other locations where<br />

we know with confidence they can<br />

achieve an ecological goal or help<br />

firefighters stop a burning edge.<br />

Elsewhere, we should work with<br />

forest landscapes and allow them to<br />

become open again. We can support<br />

this process by refocusing fire<br />

management to quickly suppress fire<br />

when it does break out.<br />

First published on The Conversation<br />

Authors:<br />

Philip Zylstra<br />

Adjunct Associate Professor at Curtin University,<br />

Research Associate at University of<br />

New South Wales, Curtin University<br />

David Lindenmayer<br />

Professor, The Fenner School of Environment<br />

and Society, Australian National<br />

University<br />

Don Bradshaw<br />

Emeritus professor, The University of<br />

Western Australia<br />

25<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


ARE<br />

THEY<br />

TRIPLE<br />

OK?<br />

Look beyond the uniform of your peers and<br />

family and friends in the emergecy services<br />

and ask “are you OK?”<br />

Learn more ruok.org.au


Sleep loss affects how paramedics<br />

and health-care workers respond<br />

to patients’ feelings


A lack of sleep affects people’s ability to feel for others. Sleep<br />

deprivation and emotional fatigue can hit anyone, but first<br />

responders and health-care workers are especially vulnerable<br />

due to shift work, long hours and the overall stressful nature<br />

of their jobs.<br />

This is relevant during a pandemic when the health-care<br />

systems of many countries have been overwhelmed by the<br />

increasing number of people in hospitals.


Our research found that sleepdeprived<br />

paramedics are less able<br />

to understand how their patients<br />

feel.<br />

Impact of sleep loss on mood and<br />

emotions<br />

I am a cognitive neuroscientist<br />

studying how the brain thinks and<br />

solves problems. My research<br />

focuses on how when you don’t<br />

sleep, you can’t react as quickly,<br />

remember information, solve<br />

problems, make plans, multi-task or<br />

regulate and understand emotions<br />

as well as you could if you were well<br />

rested.<br />

It’s well known that not getting<br />

enough sleep alters mood and<br />

emotions — think how grumpy you<br />

feel the next day if you stay up all<br />

night studying. But we know less<br />

about how lack of sleep impacts<br />

more complex emotional processes.<br />

Moods and emotions are often<br />

thought of as the same thing. In<br />

reality, they are very different.<br />

Moods are short-lived, are not<br />

linked to a particular event and<br />

are either positive or negative.<br />

Remember the last time you had<br />

Our findings were clear:<br />

Sleep-deprived students felt less<br />

empathy for people in negative<br />

situations than students who<br />

had had a good night’s sleep.<br />

a “mood swing?” You felt great and<br />

then terrible, but may not have been<br />

able to pinpoint the cause.<br />

Emotions are learned responses<br />

to situations or people. They come<br />

in different shades and intensities.<br />

For example, the emotion of fear<br />

may come at the sight of a bear<br />

in the woods. It’s hard enough to<br />

understand our own emotions, but<br />

what about understanding other<br />

people’s emotions?<br />

Impact of sleep loss on empathy<br />

Empathy is the ability to understand<br />

someone else’s emotions — to put<br />

yourself in someone else’s shoes.<br />

In 2014, in collaboration with<br />

Neurolab, which is directed by<br />

cognitive neuroscience professor<br />

Giuseppe Iaria, we designed a study<br />

to understand how a single night<br />

without sleep would impact people’s<br />

ability to understand the emotions<br />

of others.<br />

To do this, we developed a<br />

computer test that shows<br />

participants images of people<br />

in negative, positive and neutral<br />

situations. For example, we showed<br />

people in pain, people laughing and<br />

dancing or people just sitting at a<br />

table. We then asked participants to<br />

first describe what the people in the<br />

photo were feeling, and then how<br />

strong their own emotions were<br />

while looking at the pictures.<br />

We used this test to measure<br />

empathy in a group of university<br />

students. First we tested everyone<br />

to understand how empathetic they<br />

were normally. Then we had a group<br />

spend the night in the lab where we<br />

kept them awake by playing board<br />

games, socializing and watching<br />

movies. After they had been awake<br />

all night, we re-tested them and<br />

compared their results to students<br />

who were sent home to have a good<br />

night of sleep.<br />

Our findings were clear: Sleepdeprived<br />

students felt less empathy<br />

for people in negative situations<br />

than students who had had a good<br />

night’s sleep.<br />

But is it only extreme sleep<br />

deprivation, like staying up all night,<br />

that triggers this change?<br />

We found that chronic poor sleep<br />

quality was also linked with lower<br />

empathy for others. One group of<br />

people that experiences chronic<br />

sleep loss due to job schedule is<br />

paramedics.


Research shows overworked health-care professionals are less empathetic to their patient’s needs as compared to when they are well-rested<br />

Paramedics have poor sleep quality<br />

Following a shift work schedule for<br />

many years affects paramedics’<br />

sleep quality. Paramedics are also<br />

the first to respond to patients in<br />

stressful and traumatic situations,<br />

so having empathy is an important<br />

part of their job.<br />

Using the same computer task that<br />

we previously used with students,<br />

we tested paramedics with more<br />

than five years of experience, and<br />

trainees who were studying to<br />

become paramedics. We found<br />

that the experienced paramedics<br />

reported poor quality of sleep and<br />

low empathy compared to trainees.<br />

They also told us about their years<br />

of sleep issues and how they felt<br />

numb to other people’s pain.<br />

Emotional numbing, lack of empathy<br />

and sleep disturbances are some<br />

of the symptoms experienced<br />

by people who suffer from posttraumatic<br />

stress disorder (PTSD).<br />

These symptoms increase the risk<br />

of suicide. According to Canadian<br />

statistics from the Centre for Suicide<br />

Prevention, first responders are<br />

twice as likely to experience PTSD<br />

than the general population. About<br />

22 per cent of paramedics will<br />

develop PTSD at some point in their<br />

life.<br />

We found that the experienced<br />

paramedics reported poor quality of<br />

sleep and low empathy compared to<br />

trainees. They also told us about their<br />

years of sleep issues and how they felt<br />

numb to other people’s pain.<br />

During the coronavirus pandemic<br />

frontline workers worldwide are<br />

experiencing more symptoms of<br />

insomnia, anxiety, depression and<br />

PTSD. Recent media coverage has<br />

helped bring this to the public’s<br />

attention, reporting on a dramatic<br />

shortage of staff and poor working<br />

conditions in many provinces in<br />

Canada during the third and fourth<br />

waves. However, the policy-makers<br />

tend to fall behind.<br />

Our research shows that<br />

overworked health-care<br />

professionals are less empathetic<br />

to their patients’ needs compared<br />

to when they are well-rested. This<br />

finding should guide policy to<br />

ensure our health-care workers<br />

get the rest they need to help their<br />

patients to the best of their abilities.<br />

We are currently conducting<br />

a survey investigating links<br />

between sleep and emotions<br />

during the COVID-19 pandemic.<br />

We are especially interested in<br />

understanding these relationships<br />

in paramedics and health-care<br />

workers, and are recruiting<br />

participants.<br />

Veronica Guadagni<br />

Postdoctoral Fellow, Cognitive Neuroscience,<br />

University of Calgary<br />

First published on The Conversation<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au 30


ON THE FRONTLINE<br />

<strong>Vol</strong> ii - Final Report of the Independent<br />

Review into Workplace Equality in<br />

Ambulance Victoria<br />

In October 2020 Ambulance Victoria requested the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights<br />

Commission (VEOHRC) to conduct an independent review into workplace inequality within the organisation.<br />

This review was requested after multiple reports from within the organisation of alleged discrimination,<br />

sexual harassment, victimisation and bullying.


FURTHER 19 RECOMMENDATIONS FROM VOL II OF THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW<br />

• Increasing diversity on the Ambulance Victoria<br />

Board<br />

• Disrupting harmful stereotypes<br />

• Prioritising conscious inclusion throughout the<br />

recruitment lifecycle<br />

• Removing structural barriers to career<br />

advancement<br />

• Advancing equal pay<br />

• Removing structural barriers and embedding<br />

flexibility into immediate and long-term<br />

workforce planning and the employment lifecycle<br />

• Implementing and tailoring the Think Flex First<br />

Framework<br />

• Monitoring the legal compliance and continual<br />

improvement of flexible work practices<br />

• Building knowledge, capability and accountability<br />

• Creating reasonable adjustment policies,<br />

expertise and strategy<br />

• Improving long-term planning for transition to<br />

retirement<br />

• Strengthening workplace equality education and<br />

training<br />

• Embedding sustained learning and development<br />

• Creating an operating environment where<br />

capabilities can be realised<br />

• Fully embedding workplace safety and equality in<br />

risk management and health and safety systems<br />

• Updating and strengthening governance<br />

documents<br />

• Board learning through reflective practice<br />

• Organisational healing and culture change<br />

through reflective practice<br />

• A holistic and evidence-based information and<br />

data plan and communications strategy<br />

TO READ ALL RECOMMENDATIONS YOU CAN VISIT THE<br />

VEOHRC WEBSITE AND DOWNLOAD THE REPORT<br />

The review welcomed personal<br />

statements and listened to the<br />

experiences from within the<br />

organisation of both past and current<br />

employees. A confidential online<br />

survey, confidential interviews,<br />

focus groups, site visits and written<br />

submissions were all part of the<br />

collection of data that informed the<br />

final report and recommendations.<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>ume 1 was delivered at the end of<br />

November 2021. This first part of the<br />

final report focused on safety, respect<br />

and trust. 24 recommendations<br />

were made and all of these 24 were<br />

accepted by Ambulance Victoria.<br />

Since <strong>Vol</strong>ume 1 was released,<br />

Ambulance Victoria has implemented<br />

the following measures.<br />

• consultations to hear and<br />

understand staff feedback on<br />

the report and senior leadership<br />

reflective practice workshops on<br />

learnings from the report<br />

• appointing an interim Director<br />

to plan and co-design the<br />

new complaints and reporting<br />

approaches<br />

• advertising for an Executive<br />

Director of the new Equality and<br />

Workplace Reform Division and<br />

scoping further roles for the<br />

division<br />

• convening a meeting of experts<br />

to scope the restorative justice<br />

scheme<br />

• establishing governance and<br />

oversights committees, including<br />

a staff reference group, to<br />

oversee implementation of the<br />

reforms. (VEOHRC)<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>ume II of the report was delivered<br />

on 31 March <strong>2022</strong> along with a<br />

further 19 recommendations. This<br />

second part of the report focused in<br />

on equality, fairness and inclusion.<br />

Representation, pay gaps, flexible<br />

working arrangements, retirement and<br />

leadership development were the key<br />

issues that this report and the next<br />

recommendations from the VEOHRC<br />

are based around.<br />

A key finding from the review found<br />

that women and workers from<br />

diverse backgrounds have barriers to<br />

promotion and career progression.<br />

In addition to this, it was found the<br />

organisation was lacking in diversity<br />

within the workplace and this<br />

representation should be reflected in<br />

senior operational roles.<br />

In regards to work flexibility and<br />

parental support there was still<br />

some foundational work to be done.<br />

From the confidential interviews and<br />

statements made, it was expressed<br />

that there was a negative attitude and<br />

approach toward flexible work with<br />

many feeling unsupported in both<br />

parental care and transitioning to<br />

retirement.<br />

Overall it has been remarked upon<br />

by the commission that there has<br />

been an erosion of trust within the<br />

organisation as the experiences of<br />

employees did not reflect the stated<br />

values and priorities of Ambulance<br />

Victoria.<br />

In total there have been 43<br />

recommendations made to<br />

Ambulance Victoria as a result<br />

of the independent review.<br />

Ambulance Victoria has accepted all<br />

recommendations and have begun<br />

the implementation process.<br />

The commission remains connected<br />

to Ambulance Victoria for support<br />

and guidance throughout the<br />

implementation process and<br />

will conduct a public audit in<br />

2023 to garner how effective the<br />

implementation strategies have been.<br />

You can read the full report here and<br />

the following 19 recommendations<br />

from <strong>Vol</strong>ume II.


Authors:<br />

Amanda Porter<br />

Senior Fellow (Indigenous Programs),<br />

The University of Melbourne<br />

Ann Louise Deslandes<br />

Independent journalist, writer and researcher,<br />

University of Sydney<br />

Crystal McKinnon<br />

Indigenous Research Fellow,<br />

RMIT University<br />

Marlene Longbottom<br />

Aboriginal Postdoctoral Research Fellow,<br />

University of Wollongong<br />

Women’s police<br />

stations in<br />

Australia: would<br />

they work for<br />

‘all’ women?<br />

Proposals to expand police powers, to criminalise<br />

coercive control and to establish specialist women’s<br />

police stations have all occupied a prominent place in<br />

Australia’s recent debate about responses to violence<br />

against women.<br />

The proposal to establish women’s police stations has<br />

received a strong platform in mainstream media and<br />

academic journals. It has also featured in debates<br />

on policy development, such as in the Women’s<br />

Safety and Justice Taskforce currently underway in<br />

Queensland.<br />

In the local and global movement for Black and<br />

Indigenous lives where associated campaigns are<br />

asking the public to scrutinise police powers and to<br />

discuss defunding police, many Australian feminists<br />

have been advocating for punitive solutions to<br />

domestic violence.<br />

But there is currently no credible evidence to support<br />

the implementation of women’s police stations, and<br />

the research underpinning the proposal in Australia is<br />

problematic in several ways.<br />

What are women’s police stations?<br />

Specialist women’s police stations are designed to<br />

respond specifically to violence against women. They<br />

have been a feature of policing in Argentina, Brazil<br />

and other Latin American countries since the late<br />

1980s, as well as parts of Africa and Asia.<br />

Some women’s police stations adopt a<br />

“multidisciplinary” approach to policing domestic<br />

violence. They are staffed with teams of police who<br />

work alongside social workers, psychologists and<br />

lawyers. However, women’s police stations are still<br />

police stations.<br />

They vary in appearance, with some colourfully<br />

designed with play rooms for children and welcome<br />

rooms that are decorated with flowers and murals.<br />

Their mandate is to provide services for women. It’s<br />

unclear whether the stations provide support for<br />

people who identify as women outside of the cisgender<br />

binary.


What does the research say?<br />

To date, Australian news reporting on women’s police stations<br />

has relied almost exclusively on research led by Australian<br />

criminologist Kerry Carrington.<br />

Journalists and commentators have frequently used this research<br />

to report on and advocate for the establishment of women’s<br />

police stations in Australia. Investigative journalist Jess Hill states:<br />

We don’t get cops to fight fires or drive ambulances, because<br />

that’s considered specialist work. So why don’t we just take the<br />

police who love responding to family violence […] and create a<br />

parallel force? […] It’s a proven model that’s existed across Latin<br />

America (and various other countries) for 35 years.<br />

The evidence presented in favour of women’s police stations is<br />

largely drawn from two original studies. Both studies were led by<br />

Professor Carrington at the Queensland University of Technology.<br />

The first was a study undertaken in Argentina over a three-month<br />

period.<br />

This research included interviews with 100 employees from<br />

ten women’s police stations in the Buenos Aires province of<br />

Argentina. The research participants represented were selected<br />

by the province’s Ministry of Security - who the police station<br />

reports to.<br />

The second study drew on the findings of 2 surveys conducted<br />

in Australia on attitudes towards the proposal of women’s police<br />

stations.<br />

These two surveys were: one “workforce” survey, which was<br />

distributed to Australian police officers, non-governmental<br />

organisations and case workers; the second “community” survey,<br />

with recruitment of Australian adults via Facebook advertising.<br />

The second study found people thought women’s police stations<br />

could improve the policing of gender violence in Indigenous<br />

communities in Australia if staffed by appropriately trained teams<br />

working from both gender and culturally sensitive perspectives.<br />

The authors of the study concluded:<br />

“ adapted to an Australian context where Indigenous women are<br />

many times more likely to experience domestic family violence,<br />

these specialist police stations will need to be appropriately<br />

staffed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous officers trained to<br />

work from both gender and culturally sensitive perspectives.”<br />

Issues with the studies<br />

There are several concerns with both studies.<br />

In relation to the study in Argentina - all 100 of the participants<br />

were paid employees of the two police stations being researched.<br />

Police officers made up 79%, and 21% were lawyers, social<br />

workers or psychologists employed by or otherwise engaged with<br />

the two police stations selected for the study.<br />

The study doesn’t consider how the research participants’<br />

statuses as employees of the police stations may have influenced<br />

their views.<br />

A second concern is the study didn’t include interviews with<br />

survivors or their families or support networks. It also didn’t<br />

include interviews with the communities where the stations were<br />

located.<br />

A third limitation (which the authors acknowledge), is the study<br />

does not examine whether these police stations reduced crime<br />

rates, statistics of domestic violence or apprehended violence<br />

orders.<br />

In addition, no data is supplied about important factors to assess<br />

the claims of the benefit of women’s police stations in other<br />

matters related to domestic violence. Such as whether women’s<br />

police stations increase access to legal supports or whether they<br />

improve a person’s ability to report violence.<br />

Finally, neither study examines whether there was a reduction<br />

in crime rates or statistics of domestic violence, femicide or<br />

apprehended violence orders.<br />

It is difficult to assess the effectiveness of women’s police stations<br />

without this data.<br />

Evidence to suggest women’s police stations don’t work<br />

Evaluations of women’s police stations have had mixed results.<br />

For example, one recent evidence summary in India found<br />

“all-women police stations did not improve services for gender<br />

violence victims”. It found no improvement in reporting or<br />

accountability with respect to women’s police stations in India.<br />

And there is evidence to suggest women’s police stations are<br />

not free from discrimination and violence, such as reports of<br />

transphobia.<br />

This paper from Spanish-language journal Delito y Sociedad<br />

in 2020, reported female officers associated with La Plata<br />

women’s police station apprehended and publicly searched ten<br />

transgender women. The women said they were threatened<br />

with being shot if they moved). They stated four of them were<br />

detained for no reason other than their visibility as trans women.<br />

All Women Police Station Tiruvannamalai, India. Wikimedia<br />

The event led to widespread condemnation of the La Plata<br />

women’s police station by transgender advocacy groups,<br />

particularly as station staff at that time included a trans woman.<br />

There is also the death of Úrsula Bahillo that indicates these<br />

police stations aren’t always effective with protecting people who<br />

35<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


Indigenous women are more likely to report violence or seek support from staff within Indigenous organisations, not police nor non-Indigenous services.<br />

experience domestic violence.<br />

Bahillo reported violence from her policeman boyfriend to a<br />

woman’s police station on at least 18 separate occasions. She<br />

died three days after reporting her case to a women’s police<br />

station in Buenos Aires province in February this year.<br />

La Capital reported Bahillo’s family stated the women’s police<br />

station “did nothing.”<br />

BBC Mundo notes that:<br />

“Úrsula Bahillo’s case became notorious for the repeated times<br />

she asked for help, denounced her aggressor [to police] and was<br />

not listened to.”<br />

Policing studies conducted in Australia and the UK suggest simply<br />

increasing the number of female police officers will never be<br />

enough to improve discriminatory policing.<br />

Despite female leadership in policing in Queensland, there have<br />

still been reports of sexism and racism among police, including<br />

police posting on social media that women lie about domestic<br />

violence.<br />

What about Black and Indigenous women?<br />

We found very little research on the experiences of Black and<br />

Indigenous women with women’s police stations, besides one<br />

2010 report, looking at Latin America, which observed:<br />

Indigenous and Afro-descendent women have limited access [to<br />

women’s police stations] because few operators come from or<br />

understand those cultures and few speak their languages.<br />

Indigenous advocates have repeatedly drawn attention to the<br />

police failure to protect Indigenous women and families.<br />

An example of this involves the case of Tiffany Paterson, an<br />

Aboriginal woman from the Northern Territory who was violently<br />

assaulted after the Northern Territory Police failed to protect her.<br />

Tiffany, who survived the attack, later sued the Northern Territory<br />

Police on the grounds of negligence and settled on confidential<br />

terms.<br />

It is broadly understood in Indigenous communities that police<br />

stations are not safe places for Indigenous people. They are also<br />

not safe for Indigenous people to call upon for assistance, with<br />

domestic or state-sanctioned violence.<br />

We know Indigenous families and communities are often<br />

frontline responders to domestic violence. Indigenous women<br />

are more likely to report violence or seek support from staff<br />

within Indigenous organisations, not police nor non-Indigenous<br />

services.<br />

We know policing of domestic violence plays a significant role<br />

in the removal of Indigenous children from their families. The<br />

deep mistrust of police within Indigenous communities is<br />

acknowledged by police themselves.<br />

Why women’s police stations are not the answer<br />

Literature produced with Indigenous communities by Indigenous<br />

and non-Indigenous scholars in Australia points to concrete<br />

alternatives for Indigenous women and families experiencing<br />

violence.<br />

This includes community-based services and culturally safe legal<br />

support services.<br />

White feminists must listen to Indigenous peoples and<br />

organisations who are at the frontline delivering evidence-based<br />

early intervention and prevention services, as well as Indigenous<br />

researchers with lived experience.<br />

All those who have previously supported women’s police stations<br />

should read this important work and reconsider their position.<br />

Now is a crucial time for these discussions, on the 30 year<br />

anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in<br />

Custody, and with Indigenous incarceration rates increasing<br />

and the preparation of a new ten year National Plan to address<br />

violence against women and children.<br />

Article first published on The Conversation<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au 36


The royal commission into<br />

veteran suicide returned for<br />

its second session of hearings<br />

in February.<br />

With one veteran dying by<br />

suicide every two weeks<br />

in Australia and evidence<br />

veterans have poorer mental<br />

health than Australians<br />

overall, this work is urgent<br />

and important.<br />

But as the royal commission<br />

investigates the risk factors<br />

around veterans’ mental<br />

health, it is missing a key part<br />

of the puzzle: contact with the<br />

criminal justice system.<br />

Prison, veterans and mental<br />

health<br />

The royal<br />

commission must<br />

find ways to keep<br />

veterans out of<br />

jail<br />

A key part of minimising the<br />

risk of veteran suicide is<br />

keeping veterans out of jail.<br />

Time in prison is itself<br />

associated with a higher risk<br />

of suicide. There is also some<br />

evidence veterans are overrepresented<br />

in Australia’s jail<br />

system compared to other<br />

occupations.<br />

Nationally, it has been<br />

estimated nearly 3% of<br />

defence force personnel are<br />

arrested within a few years<br />

of finishing their military<br />

service. About 5% of those<br />

who have left full-time military<br />

service are reported as being<br />

arrested or imprisoned.<br />

We know many veterans<br />

have complex mental health<br />

disorders - such as PTSD -<br />

as a result of their military<br />

service, and this can lead to<br />

criminal conduct and time in<br />

prison.<br />

In Australia, the mental health<br />

of veterans who have been in<br />

prison is not well understood.<br />

Prison and military service<br />

separately increase the<br />

chance of suicide, and<br />

this tends to indicate that<br />

veterans who have been<br />

in jail have a significantly<br />

increased risk of suicide.<br />

Recognition is not enough<br />

on its own<br />

Military service - including<br />

training and deployment -<br />

can of course be traumatic<br />

and dangerous. It is also<br />

done on behalf of Australia.<br />

Because of this, veterans are<br />

owed a particular debt by<br />

government and society.<br />

In 2019, new federal<br />

legislation recognised the<br />

need to support veterans and<br />

their families. But this was<br />

largely a symbolic act. We<br />

need proper investigations<br />

into the complex, continuing,<br />

and uncomfortable<br />

consequences of military<br />

service on veterans’ health<br />

and welfare.<br />

The key issue is how society<br />

can best support veterans<br />

returning to civilian life. This<br />

includes strategies to prevent<br />

veterans ending up in the<br />

criminal justice system, but<br />

also offer specialised support<br />

to those who do.<br />

Specialist veterans courts<br />

This sort of support already<br />

exists in the United Kingdom<br />

and United States. In the US,<br />

for example, eligible veteran<br />

defendants have a specialist<br />

pathway out of the criminal<br />

justice system through<br />

veterans’ treatment courts.<br />

In general, these courts<br />

provide treatment to veterans<br />

who have committed<br />

nonviolent crimes and are<br />

suffering mental health<br />

disorders related to military<br />

service. A growing body of<br />

evidence suggests these<br />

courts are more successful at<br />

preventing re-offending than<br />

jail time, and also improve<br />

the health and well-being of<br />

participants.<br />

Could this work in Australia?<br />

There are several similar<br />

models in operation in<br />

Australia, including the<br />

NSW drug court and mental<br />

health courts for other at-risk<br />

groups such as those with<br />

drug addictions and serious<br />

mental illnesses.<br />

A veterans’ court would<br />

be a problem-solving<br />

court, with an emphasis<br />

on rehabilitation, allowing<br />

service providers and veteran<br />

peers to work with veterans<br />

to move away from criminal<br />

conduct.<br />

Individuals participating in<br />

veterans’ court processes<br />

may have their sentence<br />

suspended or their<br />

sentencing hearing deferred<br />

while they complete a drug<br />

treatment program or<br />

other treatment option. On<br />

successful completion of the<br />

program, the individual may<br />

even avoid a prison term.<br />

What next for the royal<br />

commission<br />

The royal commission will<br />

provide an interim report<br />

by August 11 <strong>2022</strong> and a<br />

final report by June 15 2023<br />

– so there is still time for a<br />

thorough consideration of<br />

veterans’ contact with the<br />

criminal justice system.<br />

This is relevant under the<br />

terms of reference. While<br />

they do not specifically<br />

mention<br />

the courts<br />

or criminal<br />

justice system,<br />

they do include “systemic<br />

issues and any common<br />

themes among defence and<br />

veteran deaths by suicide”.<br />

Further work with veterans’<br />

bodies in Australia will be<br />

necessary to determine<br />

the feasibility of and<br />

demand for veterans’<br />

courts. But once<br />

this work is done,<br />

such courts could<br />

provide a practical,<br />

evidenced-based<br />

way to help those<br />

who have served<br />

our country.


Authors:<br />

Arlie Loughnan<br />

Professor of Criminal Law,<br />

University of Sydney<br />

Clare Davidson<br />

Research fellow,<br />

The University of Western Australia<br />

Sarah Murray<br />

Professor specialising in public law and<br />

less-adversarial justice,<br />

The University of Western Australia<br />

Article first published on The Conversation


IN THE SPOTLIGHT<br />

In each edition of the Australian Emergency Services Magazine<br />

we feature a profile on a person, team, partnership, squad or<br />

unit to showcase their unique contribution to the emergency<br />

services industry. If you would like to be featured or know<br />

someone who deserves some recognition get in touch with our<br />

team.<br />

a member of the Horsham<br />

Unit since 2008, Kieran has<br />

undertaken more than 50<br />

rescues.<br />

Kieran said he’s “always had<br />

a passion for rock climbing,<br />

which started when I was<br />

17”.<br />

He has been climbing for<br />

almost 50 years. Kieran<br />

has extensive rock climbing<br />

experience across the world,<br />

including in Europe, America<br />

and New Zealand. One of<br />

the reasons why his family<br />

decided to move to Natimuk<br />

was to be closer to Mt<br />

Arapiles and the Grampians<br />

due to his passion for rock<br />

climbing.<br />

Kieran was inspired to<br />

get involved with VICSES<br />

when he saw a series of<br />

bad accidents in the 80’s<br />

and 90’s which resulted in<br />

several fatalities.<br />

While he also responds to<br />

road crash accidents, more<br />

than 75% of rescue jobs<br />

he’s involved with are high<br />

angle rescues either in the<br />

Grampians or Mt Arapiles.<br />

Every year Kieran may<br />

respond to several high<br />

angle rescues within the<br />

Mid West Region as well<br />

as assisting Ambulance<br />

Victoria with other climbing<br />

accidents.<br />

Kieran said that “… accidents<br />

we respond to encompass<br />

the full range of climber skill<br />

level from novice to expert<br />

climbers”.<br />

Mt Arapiles is world<br />

renowned for having climbs<br />

that cater to a very broad<br />

range of skill levels. When<br />

climbers push themselves<br />

beyond their capability they<br />

sometimes get into trouble.<br />

Kieran said “we are lucky<br />

to have 12 high angle<br />

accredited responders<br />

within SES and CFA in the<br />

Natimuk and Horsham area.<br />

We regularly undertake multi<br />

agency high angle training<br />

with our local high angle<br />

operators to maintain our<br />

skills and continue to build<br />

relationships with CFA.<br />

Thanks to VICSES for article<br />

and images.<br />

Kieran Loughran assisting with repairing roof damage to buildings in Horsham<br />

as a result of the December 2020 Tornado.<br />

Kieran Loughran<br />

HORSHAM UNIT: VICSES<br />

Kieran Loughran, Horsham Unit Officer and<br />

Technical Rescue Instructor at VICSES, has had a<br />

passion for climbing since he was 17. He utilises<br />

his very specific skills and understanding when<br />

responding to rescues at the very dangerous Mt<br />

Arapiles and the Grampians.<br />

Kieran Loughran’s extensive<br />

rock climbing skills and<br />

experience is evident when<br />

he responds to rescues<br />

at Mt Arapiles or the<br />

Grampians.<br />

VICSES are very lucky to<br />

have such a highly skilled<br />

high angle operator and<br />

technical rescue instructor<br />

to assist with responding<br />

to rescues that regularly<br />

occur at Mt Arapiles and the<br />

Grampians.<br />

Outside of VICSES Kieran’s<br />

high angle rescue skills are<br />

renowned across Victoria<br />

within the Victoria Police<br />

Rescue Coordination Centre<br />

and the CFA. While being<br />

A VICSES member undertaking high angle training at Mt Arapiles.<br />

VICSES and CFA member undertaking high angle training at Mt Arapiles.<br />

39<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


Thank you<br />

SES volunteers<br />

Wednesday<br />

18 th May <strong>2022</strong><br />

#ThankyouSES


Book Review<br />

There are some incredible books out there about the trials and tribulations,<br />

heartbreak and satisfaction of working within the emergency services sector.<br />

We aim to bring you some great recommendations within each issue. If you<br />

have a book to recommend for our reviews, get in touch.<br />

THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY<br />

PARAMEDIC - STUDENT HANDBOOK<br />

Author: Tammie Bullard<br />

Follow Tammie Bullard on socials @gbuparamedic<br />

Tammie Bullard is an Australian<br />

author with a passion for prehospital<br />

professionalism and patient care. Her<br />

experience includes a range of hands-on<br />

and educational roles. From emergency<br />

ambulance paramedic, preceptor and<br />

clinical trainer to university lecturer and<br />

co-ordinator. Through all of which she<br />

has been fortunate enough to teach,<br />

and continue to learn from, countless<br />

colleagues worldwide.<br />

For the duration of her academic<br />

journey from undergraduate to<br />

postgraduate qualifications in intensive<br />

care paramedicine, and a master’s<br />

degree in critical care, her enthusiasm<br />

has steadily increased. Along with a<br />

fascination for the cultural chatter<br />

around human-centred approaches and<br />

attitudes within EMS.<br />

Over a decade’s worth of scribbled notes<br />

from conversations with medics and<br />

students have been gathered together<br />

in a series of books. Written to provide<br />

effortless tools for self-reflection in every<br />

paramedic with a desire to excel in this<br />

rewarding role.<br />

Are you mentally ready for the<br />

reality of making an ambulance your<br />

everyday office?<br />

Is it your hope to end every shift<br />

without second guessing your<br />

actions or inactions?<br />

Do you want to follow the crowd,<br />

or create your own professional<br />

approach with intent?<br />

Becoming a newly qualified<br />

paramedic or EMT is like a juggling<br />

act. With hands and minds full of<br />

ambition, fresh ideas, hard earned<br />

expertise and newly acquired<br />

knowledge, it can be challenging to<br />

maintain the high standards that<br />

you’re desperate to deliver. Even<br />

the best of intentions will be difficult<br />

to deploy, without recognising<br />

what’s important, or why. This<br />

book is your guide to growing good<br />

habits, so that little of the bad and<br />

even less of the ugly can creep in<br />

along the way.<br />

While training and education deal<br />

with the standalone skills, minimal<br />

time remains to devote to the<br />

biggest learning curve of all. Putting<br />

everything together into one<br />

professional, compassionate and<br />

satisfying package. If you’re looking<br />

for checklists to tick, flick and forget,<br />

this is not the book for you. But<br />

if you prefer to craft an individual<br />

brand of outstanding emergency<br />

care with intent, everything you<br />

need is right here.<br />

Nothing clinical will be covered. No<br />

tips or tricks on specific techniques.<br />

It’s all about attitude to the humancentered<br />

skills that will set you up<br />

for success, ready to hit the ground<br />

running. A self-development style<br />

handbook, for students at any stage<br />

of preparation for a prehospital<br />

career.<br />

• Work on ways to bring out your<br />

best, so you provide nothing<br />

less than you would expect for<br />

your loved ones.<br />

• Think through the things that<br />

may prove inwardly challenging,<br />

before they arise in reality.<br />

• Fine tune your focus and<br />

create proactive plans to avoid<br />

unnecessary incidents or<br />

unwanted events.<br />

• Design a mindset that matches<br />

your moral compass, and<br />

satisfies those who depend on<br />

your dedication.<br />

Through its friendly, conversational<br />

and easy to follow format, The Good,<br />

The Bad & The Ugly Paramedic<br />

Student Handbook puts you firmly in<br />

the driving seat of your own destiny<br />

toward the job of your dreams.<br />

As an author with over a decade of<br />

experience in paramedic practice,<br />

precepting and teaching, Tammie<br />

Bullard is passionate about<br />

supporting newcomers, on their<br />

path toward prehospital care. Book<br />

#1 in the GBU Paramedic series, this<br />

handbook is designed to give every<br />

reader the insight and incentive to<br />

bring out their best in every aspect<br />

of EMS.<br />

Imagse & Synopsis - Amazon.com.au<br />

41<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


Book Review<br />

‘From the day of its invention<br />

the ambulance has attracted a<br />

magnetic curiosity from humans<br />

around the world. This vehicle<br />

racing to the scene of accidents<br />

and illness demands attention.<br />

When you hear one coming, you<br />

turn. When you watch it pass<br />

you wonder, if only for a moment,<br />

where it might be going, who is<br />

inside and what horrific mishap<br />

the patient has suffered. After<br />

fifteen years spent in the back of<br />

ambulances I’ve come to realise<br />

that medics and paramedics are<br />

endlessly fascinating to the public.<br />

But despite our appeal, the truth<br />

about us is largely hidden from<br />

view. It is hidden because, in the<br />

instant we drive past we have<br />

carried our secrets away, leaving<br />

nothing more than the wail of a<br />

siren. We are hidden because<br />

the usual depiction of paramedics<br />

on film and television is mostly a<br />

fantasy. The title of hero is forced<br />

upon us, and what is lost is who<br />

we really are.<br />

As you read this, more than a<br />

hundred thousand ambulance<br />

medics across the planet are<br />

responding to emergencies. They<br />

are scrambling under crashed<br />

cars, carrying the sick down flights<br />

of stairs, resuscitating near-dead<br />

husbands at the feet of hysterical<br />

wives, and stemming the bloodflow<br />

of gunshot victims in seedy<br />

back alleys. A good number too<br />

are just as likely to be raising<br />

an eyebrow at some ridiculous,<br />

trivial complaint their patient<br />

has considered life threatening<br />

enough to call them for.’<br />

PARAMEDICO:<br />

AROUND THE<br />

WORLD BY<br />

AMBULANCE<br />

Author: Benjamin Gilmour<br />

Images & Synopsis - Amazon.com.au<br />

Find more books by Benjamin Gilmour at<br />

www.benjamingilmour.com<br />

Paramedico is a heart-stopping,<br />

white-knuckle ride about a paramedic<br />

at work in an ambulance, attending<br />

emergencies in far-flung places such<br />

as England, Iceland, Macedonia,<br />

Mexico, Pakistan, The Philippines,<br />

South Africa and Thailand - at the<br />

time of the 2004 tsunami.<br />

This is also a brilliantly written<br />

collection of wild tales of wild people<br />

whose lives are so different from<br />

our own that it’s hard to believe they<br />

really exist. Gilmour is able to make<br />

us stop and think not only of how to<br />

live a life, but how precious life is and<br />

how important it is to protect it.<br />

Benjamin Gilmour is the<br />

filmmaker behind the acclaimed<br />

feature film ‘Son of a Lion’ (2008)<br />

selected for the Berlinale, feature<br />

documentary ‘Paramedico’ (2012)<br />

and Afghan drama ‘Jirga’ (2018).<br />

He has also written two<br />

bestselling books, ‘Warrior Poets’<br />

(2008) about his time living<br />

among the clans on the Pak/<br />

Afghan border and ‘Paramedico’<br />

(2012) about his work on<br />

ambulances around the world.<br />

TEN FEET TALL<br />

AND NOT QUITE<br />

BULLETPROOF<br />

Author: Cameron Hardiman<br />

Images & Synopsis - Amazon.com.au<br />

Cameron Hardiman lived a life<br />

most young boys could only<br />

dream of. Every morning he put<br />

on a navy blue police flight suit,<br />

grabbed his flight helmet, and<br />

prepared to work on the police<br />

helicopter. He could be called to<br />

anything during a shift, to search<br />

for a missing child, to pull an<br />

injured driver from a wrecked car,<br />

or a dangerous sea rescue.<br />

He saw his fair share of trauma<br />

and dealt with it like most coppers<br />

would: he quickly put each<br />

dangerous job out of his mind<br />

as soon as it was over. But one<br />

particular rescue in Bass Strait<br />

brought about a reckoning - and<br />

Cameron was never the same<br />

again.<br />

This is the brilliantly told,<br />

white-knuckle story of one cop<br />

learning every lesson the hard<br />

way - and coming to find out<br />

that being not quite bulletproof<br />

doesn’t mean that you’re not a<br />

good cop.<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au 42


TRAVEL<br />

EMERGENCY<br />

Breaks<br />

Words: Brooke Turnbull


Now we’re coming into the colder months,<br />

let’s get ready for all things winter. Hot<br />

chocolates, marshmallows toasted on fire pits,<br />

warm, knitted jumpers and, of course, winter<br />

holidays! Australia is a lucky country indeed<br />

to be able to, in the same season, head north<br />

to the tropics and enjoy a beach holiday,<br />

or head south to the ski fields and spend a<br />

week or two hitting the slopes by day and<br />

getting rugged up by the fire at night. There<br />

are a number of ski fields to choose from in<br />

Australia, from Thredbo, Mount Buller and<br />

Falls Creek among others. This issue we’re<br />

focusing on Mount Perisher, because we did<br />

the comparison of things like number of slopes,<br />

affordability and nightlife, so you didn’t have<br />

to (you’re welcome) and this one came out<br />

overwhelmingly on top.<br />

Location:<br />

Mount Perisher is located in the New South Wales side<br />

of the Australian Snowy Mountains, Perisher Valley ski<br />

resort is an amalgamation of four separate villages that<br />

sit at the base of the mountain: Perisher Valley, Smiggin<br />

Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow. Perisher came out on top<br />

when it comes to accessibility, as it has its own regional<br />

airport.<br />

The quickest and easiest way to get into Perisher is<br />

by regional airlines like Rex and Qantas-link, however<br />

there is a helicopter option that will meet your plane<br />

at Sydney airport. If you’re originally from Sydney or<br />

are planning to hire a car from the airport it’s a 5-6<br />

hour drive in good weather. Hot tip: make sure your<br />

insurance cover is specifically for snow and includes<br />

snow chains. The weather can get gnarly pretty quickly<br />

and the last thing you want in a hire car, or your own<br />

car, is to be stuck without snow chains and staring<br />

down the barrel of a blizzard or some black ice. Also,<br />

if you’re driving, remember to purchase your National<br />

Park Pass prior to entering the national park!


Things to Do:<br />

Obviously, given the fact that Perisher is the largest ski resort<br />

in Australia, the main thing to do there, or any of the snow<br />

fields, when visiting in peak season is make use of the slopes.<br />

Whether you’re a skier or a snowboarder, this will probably<br />

take up a good chunk of your time. If you’re a novice and<br />

have never visited snow before, let alone put on some skis,<br />

the Perisher resort has access to both group and private<br />

lessons that will get you on at least some beginner, if not<br />

intermediate, runs in no time.<br />

There is something for everyone at Perisher - kids lessons are a must<br />

In the summertime, Perisher offers a wide array of hiking and<br />

mountain biking trails that are perfect for the adventuring<br />

soul to take advantage of, and in the winter these same<br />

trails make for perfect cross country ski adventures! Perisher<br />

resort boasts over 100kms of incredible cross-country trails,<br />

perfect for a big day out. Perisher also offers an exciting<br />

opportunity to ski or snowboard under the stars, with their<br />

night skiing trails. Weather permitting, these night skiing<br />

opportunities are available on Tuesday and Saturday nights.<br />

The cost of a daily lift pass in Perisher for <strong>2022</strong> is released<br />

closer to the snow season beginning, around end of May<br />

or early June, but get in quickly as these passes sell out.<br />

Depending on the time you go day tickets range from $140-<br />

180 per day, with daily prices lowering the longer you stay.<br />

Alternatively, you can take advantage of the Epic Australia<br />

pass for $999 per person. This pass gives you lift access<br />

for the whole season across all Australian snow fields. An<br />

unbelievable deal to really enjoy all that the ski resorts across<br />

Australia have to offer.<br />

One of our top recommendations is Tube Town. A perfect<br />

activity for all snow abilities and great fun for the whole<br />

family, especially if you’ve got young kids. Pick up a toboggan<br />

and get carried up the hill by the cable, before riding swiftly<br />

back down on your tube, screaming the whole way down,<br />

no doubt. Tobogganing is an included activity with your lift<br />

passes, so take advantage of your time and the ability to push<br />

the kids down a hill for fun!<br />

Tube Town at Perisher - fun for the whole family<br />

In addition to the epic snow adventure that comes with<br />

heading to Perisher, skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and<br />

everything else that comes with it, the Perisher resort is<br />

also famous for its nightlife and tantalizing restaurants. Our<br />

recommendations for a place to hang out, listen to some<br />

great acoustic acts (or even a DJ or two!) and enjoy a wine by<br />

an open fireplace, is The Overflow Bar. One of Perisher’s best<br />

hang outs with one of the most epic views of the fields that<br />

any bar can boast. Our top recommendation for an excellent<br />

meal is the Base 1720 Bar & Restaurant. Atmospheric, cosy<br />

and offering up delicious meals at a buffet breakfast, or a la<br />

carte lunch and dinner, Base 1720 is located at the Perisher<br />

Manor and is the perfect place to recharge after a big day on<br />

the slopes.<br />

Places to Stay:<br />

Our usual offerings of three separate hotels for your budget<br />

is a bit different this time around. Give that snow season<br />

is peak season, your budget is going to be looking a bit<br />

different. Expect to pay a little (or a lot) extra per night over<br />

the ski season, but with the blue bird days and wintery, cosy<br />

nights, it’s 100% worth it. However, we’ve worked long and<br />

hard to bring you the best options with the best prices, as<br />

always. So, let’s hop to it and get to the good part.<br />

Perisher offers night time skiing and snowboarding<br />

Our first option is the Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa. We<br />

could absolutely not go past this option. First off, sitting on<br />

45<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au


the banks of Lake Crackenback and offering picture perfect<br />

views and a warm and inviting atmosphere, this place is<br />

stunning. The hotel also offers a variety of different types of<br />

accommodation, from suites to self-contained apartments,<br />

there’s something here for everyone. Within 15 minutes of<br />

both Perisher and Thredbo resorts, Lake Crackenback Resort<br />

is a great place to stay to access all the snow play you could<br />

ask for. They also have a conveniently located snow sports<br />

and ski hire store and the ability to book group and private<br />

lessons through their friendly team. So even if you’re a novice,<br />

you’ve got a good jumping off point at Lake Crackenback.<br />

Our favourite facility at this beautiful property is going to<br />

have to be the spa. After a big day skiing, snowboarding or<br />

generally just getting a little bit bruised and battered on the<br />

slopes, there cannot be anything better than booking yourself<br />

a spa day. The spa offers massages, facials and rejuvenating<br />

treatments that will have you floating on air when you leave.<br />

Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa is our top price option with<br />

the Mountain View rooms starting at $445 per person per<br />

night for two people.<br />

The next option is Barina Milpara. Offering several options for<br />

travelling groups, this is a great option if you’re travelling as a<br />

couple or with friends, as it means you get to stay somewhere<br />

warm and cosy but with excellent access to the ski lifts for<br />

those early morning starts. Barina’s location means it has the<br />

ability to offer complimentary over-snow transport on arrival,<br />

departure and at the end of each day’s skiing. Barina also<br />

includes a hot breakfast and hearty dinners prepared by their<br />

in-house chef. As the rooms aren’t self-contained, this is a<br />

great price effective inclusion if you’re not wanting to explore<br />

the restaurant and nightlife around the Perisher Valley. The<br />

Barina Milpara lodge operates on the idea that all their guests<br />

are family, and they treat them as such. Which means you<br />

have full access to the large, dining and lounge areas that<br />

offer a cosy place to have a glass of wine around the fire,<br />

read a book in a comfortable and private nook or play a<br />

boardgame with your family and theirs. Starting at $250 per<br />

adult per night, this is one of the best places to bunker down<br />

for the night in preparation for the best snow trip you could<br />

imagine.<br />

Finally, our budget option is the Matterhorn Lodge. A very<br />

popular option with families and groups because of the<br />

great feel of the lodge, as well as its proximity to the slopes<br />

and excellent bang for buck. Within minutes to the Perisher<br />

Express Quad Chair, as well as the Perisher ski hire and<br />

ticket offices, it’s a great place to put down your stuff and get<br />

straight out onto the slopes. Featuring a large games room<br />

with a TV, a number of games and a pool table to occupy<br />

kids and adults alike. For those who just want to unwind, you<br />

can do so in the adjacent lounge with a stunning log fire and<br />

fully licensed bar offering delicious local schnapps as well<br />

as local and international wines and beers. The Matterhorn<br />

also includes a hot breakfast each morning and a delicious<br />

3 course, set menu dinner each night, which will revive you<br />

after a big day out on the snow. With prices starting from<br />

$136 per person per night in shoulder season and with prices<br />

lowering the bigger the group and the more nights your<br />

stay, the Matterhorn is an excellent value for money option if<br />

you’re heading to the snow this year.<br />

Whether you’re a skier, snowboarder or just really enjoy cold<br />

weather, the Perisher Valley ski season should be included in<br />

any Australian travel bucket list. Enjoy the wintery, blue days<br />

out on the snow and the cosy, chilly nights back in your hotel<br />

with a glass of wine to congratulate yourself on mastering<br />

your skills on the slopes.<br />

Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa - make sure to check out the spa after a long day on<br />

the slopes.<br />

Barina Milpara Lodge - includes a hot breakfast and hearty dinners<br />

Matterhorn Lodge - an excellent option for larger groups and families<br />

www.ausemergencyservices.com.au 46


Ready. Set.<br />

Give!<br />

Emergency Services<br />

Blood Challenge <strong>2022</strong><br />

1 June - 31 August<br />

Give life. Give blood.<br />

blood challenge


16-22 MAY <strong>2022</strong><br />

Better Together<br />

National <strong>Vol</strong>unteer Week <strong>2022</strong> Sponsors<br />

Better Together<br />

<strong>Vol</strong>unteering brings people together; it<br />

builds communities and creates a better<br />

society for everyone.<br />

National <strong>Vol</strong>unteer Week is a chance for all<br />

of us to celebrate and recognise the vital<br />

work of volunteers and to say thank you.<br />

Together, through volunteering, we are<br />

changing communities for the better.<br />

We are, Better Together.<br />

volunteeringaustralia.org


ARE THEY<br />

TRIPLE OK?<br />

We’re always there to help.<br />

Let’s make sure we help each other and ask R U OK?<br />

ruok.org.au/triple-ok

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