August 13, 2014

Labor To Boost Trauma Support For Ballarat’s Firefighters

Ballarat firefighters today heard from Local MP’s about Labor’s policy to boost mental health support services for firefighters suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
During a visit to the Ballarat City Fire Station, Sharon Knight and Geoff Howard outlined Labor’s promise of $200,000 for a two-year trial at the Austin Health Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital to assist firefighters with PTSD.
Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight said firefighters can be exposed to horrific scenes every shift they work.
“Firefighters carry with them the memory of some horrific scenes they see while on the job protecting our community,” Ms Knight said.
“We need to provide firefighters with the support they need to cope with the trauma that can come from protecting the rest of the community,” she said.
Ballarat East MP Geoff Howard said research from The Centre of Full Employment and Equity at the University of Newcastle shows a much higher prevalence of PTSD for firefighters than the general population.
“Denis Napthine spends millions of dollars in advertising about the Fire Services Property Levy, but offers very limited support for Ballarat firefighters particularly those who are suffering with PTSD,” Mr Howard said.
“We owe it to our firefighters to provide the necessary support they need to be able to deal with this as they continue to support us,” he said.
Labor’s promised funds will be provided as two $100,000 capped grants.