The Fair Work Amendment (Closing the Loopholes) Bill 2023 has been introduced into parliament and contains a raft of proposed changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 to tackle loopholes within the current industrial relations framework. Of particular interest is the proposed amendments to the Commonwealth workers’ compensation legislation, which, if passed, would streamline workers’ compensation for first responders living with PTSD under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.
The proposed measures would establish a presumption for PTSD injuries acquired by first responders. This means AFP employees (sworn and unsworn) who suffer a PTSD injury would no longer be required to prove that their employment contributed to their PTSD injury to a significant degree; rather, employment would be presumed to have contributed to a significant degree to their PTSD injury.
The AFPA has a long history of campaigning for presumptive legislation and for years has been lobbying for laws that would presume PTSD to have been caused by a member’s employment (the reality for many living with PTSD).
The introduction of presumptive legislation will hopefully enhance the support and recovery process for AFP employees living with PTSD acquired from work-related traumatic events. By simplifying the compensation claims and treatment access procedures, the proposed measures aim to prevent further deterioration of first responders’ mental health.
While not law yet, the bill is under consideration by the Senate and, if approved, is anticipated to take effect in early 2024.
2023 AFP Staff Survey
The 2023 AFP staff survey went live on Monday, 11 September and will be open for a period of three weeks (closing Sunday, 1 October). The survey format is more condensed than previous surveys and will concentrate on the impact of work-related factors on physical, emotional and mental well-being, as well as overall job satisfaction. We expect the results will be released to all staff and the AFPA in November.
The AFPA would like to encourage all its members to participate in the 2023 Staff Survey as a high response rate will help the AFPA understand where the AFP needs to focus its efforts to better support the workforce.