Firefighters and Emergency Services Policy
Only Labor is working for Tasmania’s firefighters and the communities they protect.
Permanent and volunteer firefighters put their lives on the line for us when we need them most. We need to do everything we can to keep them safe too.
This is why Labor will end the failed Liberal amalgamation experiment.
Labor is working to support our Tasmanian Firefighters and Emergency Service personnel, who are out most valuable weapon in keeping communities safe.
Labor will uphold the standalone fire statutory authority – It is essential that people with firefighting experience are the ones making decisions around fire response capabilities and needs.
Feedback from career and volunteer brigades shows there is currently a lack of focus on the needs and capabilities of our fire service.
Given we rely on our firefighters to keep our communities safe, both during emergencies and through ongoing work to prevent emergencies in the first place, we simply have to get this right.
We will expand the standalone statutory agency run by experienced firefighting and SES leadership and separate from policing.
Labor will install Halo Systems on all firefighting vehicles – Halo Systems can save the lives of fire crews in emergency bushfire situations.
Labor will invest $3.15 million to complete the installation of Halo Systems on all firefighting vehicles as a matter of priority.
Labor will establish two new permanent fire crews at Burnie and Devonport – People in the North West pay the same taxes and rates as people in Launceston and Hobart. They have just as much right to expect access to the same services.
Labor will establish new permanent fire crews in Burnie and Devonport, supporting communities on the NW coast access with more than 40 additional firefighters and an additional heavy pumper.
Labor will ensure that our volunteer brigades are properly supported – Labor will invest in 12 additional field officers to provide support to volunteer brigades across each fire districts.
Volunteer firefighters give up their time for their communities and this additional investment will ensure they have the support and training they need to be able to undertake this critical work.
Labor will make the use of foams safer for our firefighters – TFS is the only service still using PFAS foams for firefighting, yet it doesn’t offer blood testing to our firefighters to monitor PFAS levels.
Labor will immediately implement a testing system to monitor the health of firefighters that have been exposed to PFAS and review our national commitments on this issue.
No forced amalgamations of volunteer brigades – Labor will never force the amalgamation of volunteer brigades, including by stealth.
Labor will invest in the State Emergency Service Fleet – Labor will invest $1.5 million to renew the State Emergency Services vehicle fleet to ensure that local SES Volunteers will be able to continue providing their invaluable assistance to communities during emergencies.
Policing and Community Safety
While violent crime continues to escalate in Launceston, police response times have increased by 70%, from 23 minutes to almost 40 minutes. This makes our communities less safe.
Under-resourcing puts more pressure on our police officers. Workers compensation claims are increasing and our officers are feeling unsupported. We can’t expect police to keep us safe if we won’t make every effort to support their wellbeing.
Labor will significantly enhance front line police resourcing, and do much more to look after our police officers.
Labor has listened, Labor has learned, and Labor is working for Tasmanians to keep our communities safe.
More Police, More Policing
A police force for the future – Labor will employ an additional 67 specialist officers to improve resourcing for CIB, crash investigation, digital evidence forensics, surveillance, serious and organised crime, cybercrime, police prosecution, drone pilots, training and education.
Nearly half of these additional officers will be based in Launceston due to the fact it has the highest victimisation rates and highest incidence of crime across three quarters of the crime categories that are measured in the Tasmania Police Corporate Performance Reports
The addition of these extra police will support the ongoing modernisation of our police force and increase Tasmania Police’s criminal investigation capability.
Supporting the work of policing
Police prosecutors are supported by lawyers and other staff. The current court backlog is limiting people’s access to justice so to help deal with this Labor will employ more lawyers and more support staff.
Fixing rural backfill
Local police are embedded in their communities – they know everyone and they are known by everyone. And because they live and work in the community, they are so often the first on the scene to any incidents.
However, an unwavering commitment to the job so often brings an unhealthy sense of obligation to the point that local police are reluctant to take leave because they know their job will not be backfilled.
When officers are sick or face circumstances outside their control communities are left without an immediate or – in many cases – even a nearby presence. It leaves communities vulnerable.
Labor will hire 7 additional police officers to put an end to the backfill problem and keep our rural communities safe.
Three general duties police dogs
The Liberal party promised three dogs would be added to the police service in 2018 but they have failed to deliver.
Tasmania is the only state that does not use general duties police dogs, even though they are crucial across a range of important policing areas.
They track suspects who are on foot and help police criminals.
In a state where tourists and locals are attracted to our rugged terrain, they are also pivotal in searches for missing people.
Despite a successful trial of general duties dogs from South Australia, which resulted in the apprehension of a number of dangerous criminals, no action has been taken by the current government to train dogs of our own.
Labor will fund three general duties dogs – one each for the North, South and Western districts.
Remove police from court duties and prisoner transport in the North West – The Government has failed to fulfil its promise to remove police from court duties and prisoner transport. Now it is trying to contract this work out to private security.
A Labor Government will get police off court duties and prisoner transport, while keeping these jobs in the public service.
Permanent police presence for New Norfolk
Labor will add an additional two police officers to the New Norfolk station and a further four to the Bridgewater station. This will provide round the clock coverage with bolstered patrolling in the afternoons and at times of peak demand.
Labor will not make any cuts to police budgets or police numbers at any point in the next four years, and will fulfil the Government’s current hiring commitments.
Looking After Our Officers
Restore police officers on step-down provisions to their full entitlements
Labor wholeheartedly supported the removal of step-down provisions for police on long-term workers compensation claims.
You don’t help people to recover or return to work by putting them under financial stress.
There is a small group of workers who are still subject to step downs. Labor will restore these people to their full entitlements.
Full review of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act and the Police Service Act
Labor will conduct a full review of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act and the Police Service Act in consultation with the Police Association of Tasmania.
Offender disease testing legislation
Currently, police officers who have been subjected to a blood or body fluid exposure – for example by being assaulted or spat on – have to wait up to six months for tests to confirm if they have been exposed to a serious transmissible disease.
This creates unbelievable stress for the officer involved.
Labor will investigate the introduction of legislation to allow the taking of the offender’s blood for disease testing, significantly reducing the time for a result.
Develop and fund a fatigue management policy and a centralised online rostering system
A Labor Government will continue to develop and implement a fatigue management policy.
Labor will also deliver a centralised online rostering system to proactively manage officer wellbeing.
Police station upgrades
The state of several police buildings is unacceptable. Dilapidated buildings reduce efficiency and the wellbeing of workers.
A Labor Government will invest $7.5 million to build a new police station in St Helens, and will upgrade the Bridgewater station.
A Statewide Police Service for all Tasmanians
Tasmania Police is a statewide organisation and its footprint should reflect that fact.
Labor will bolster resourcing in our regions by decentralising non-operational roles from the Southern Region to the North and North West as vacancies occur.
Police Powers Bill
A Labor Government will continue to progress work on police powers legislation.