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Thursday, 14 February 2019
Page: 10294

Senator BROCKMAN (Western Australia) (15:48): I am conscious that a lot of my colleagues wish to speak on a large number of reports, so I will speak very briefly on the report The people behind 000: mental health of our first responders. I also want to absolutely acknowledge on behalf of coalition members the work that first responders do and the pressure it places upon them. It is an extraordinarily difficult, demanding and stressful area of work. Whether it be our ambulance personnel, our paramedics, our firefighters or our police officers, all first responders and all volunteers who work in that environment are doing something that society asks of them. We need people who are willing to step up and do those jobs, but it is an extraordinarily stressful and demanding environment in which they work. It places pressures on individuals. It places pressures on families. That came out very clearly in the report and in the evidence given to the committee.

Coalition members of the Education and Employment References Committee did put in some additional comments to the report; however, I wish to make it very clear that that does not mean that we disagreed with the majority report. It's an area where attention does need to be paid into the future. However, it needs to be recognised that this does fall across our federation to different levels of government, with different responsibilities. Whilst the Commonwealth can play a coordinating role, we must acknowledge the right and responsibility of the states and territories to play their correct part as well.

I also wish to acknowledge, as the chair did, the work of the secretariat. It was a challenging and confronting inquiry at times. I also acknowledge the work done by Senator Urquhart. It was, at times, a difficult inquiry, but I think one in which the very good work of the committee system does shine through. I will end just by thanking all our first responders.