Supporting the wellbeing and mental health of our police officers

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Supporting the wellbeing and mental health of our police officers

9 June 2022

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is committed to keeping our communities safe, and particularly supporting our hardworking police officers. 

Due to our Government’s targeted investments and focus on tackling crime, Tasmania is one of the safest places to live and raise a family.

When Labor lost Government in 2014, Tasmania was left with fewer police officers than when Labor first came to office 16 years before in 1998.

This is Labor’s legacy. They slashed Tasmania Police and between 2011 and 2013 alone they cut 108 police officers.

We are rebuilding police numbers from these drastic days by recruiting 329 additional police officers, which puts us on track to bring Tasmania to its highest ever establishment of 1,449 by July 2026. These additional police officers are allowing the establishment of safe staffing numbers at all of our 24/7 police stations.

Labor simply has no credibility when it comes to the health and safety of our police officers.

In 2008, Labor blocked a proposal put forward by the Liberal Government to ensure that Tasmanian police officers injured in the line of duty received equitable worker’s compensation.

In stark contrast, our Government is working hard to support our police officers, and we have invested $7.5 million to date, with $3 million every year embedded in the Budget to support their mental health and wellbeing.

This funding allows for additional services, such as psychologists and counselling, and ensures that all our emergency service personnel and volunteers are able to receive the support that they require from the Health and Wellbeing Program.

We know that emergency services personnel are exposed to challenging incidents including being confronted by situations most of us are never likely to experience and this can impact their mental and physical health.  We also removed workers compensation step down provisions for police officers and introduced nation-leading legislation for presumptive PTSD.

Labor cared so little about Tasmania Police officer’s health and wellbeing that they allowed police houses to rot and forced our hard-working police to live in sub-standard accommodation. In comparison we are investing $21.7 million to upgrade 67 police houses across the State to ensure contemporary, secure and comfortable homes.

In comparison, The Government is providing state of the art facilities and equipment to ensure our police officers have contemporary and comfortable accommodation and accouterments including:

  • Deployed 812 body worn cameras to general uniform policing units;
  • Strengthened laws regarding assaults on police;
  • Funding 20 new police for a full-time Special Operations Group, and $400,000 since 2018-19 for equipment they need for the roles;
  • Building new police stations;
  • Delivered new $5 million New Norfolk Police Station and $5 million Longford Police Station;
  • Established the Crime and Intelligence Command to tackle emerging crime trends, organised crime and incorporating the cold case unit
  • Significant investments to improve Tasmania Police’s information technology systems to further enhance policing and protect our officers, including;
  • Implemented the $17.27 million Emergency Services Computer Aided Dispatch (ESCAD) system, to provide an integrated system for all emergency services
  • Implemented a new state of the art Triple Zero System with funding of $6.75 million;
  • Providing $6.2 million to replace the Department’s automatic vehicle location systems to ensure officer safety on the job;
  • $59.1 million towards the upgrade of information technology systems, including for Atlas and Project Unify;
  • $860,000 on drone technology, to crackdown on antisocial driving;
  • $760,000 for the rollout of new Glock pistols over three years;
  • $500,000 to scope the Emergency Dispatching, Messaging and Alerting Project;
  • Implementing the $567 million Tasmanian Government Radio Network, with migration to the new network on track for completion in 2023;
  • Removed police from Launceston and North West courts;
  • Implemented the Country Police Station Relief Policy with $2.65m invested already and $10.6 million funding over the forward estimates; and;
  • $24.6 million for the Large Vessel Replacement Program.

While Labor continue to play politics with such a serious issue, the Liberal Government will continue our unprecedented investments in Tasmania Police, and the wellbeing of our officers, to ensure they can continue their important work of keeping Tasmanians safe.

While Labor continue to play politics with such a serious issue, the Liberal Government will continue our unprecedented investments in Tasmania Police, and the wellbeing of our officers, to ensure they can continue their important work of keeping Tasmanians safe. 

Aboriginal cultural burning in Tasmania

Minister for Parks

Aboriginal cultural burning in Tasmania

9 June 2022

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is providing $1.3 million in the 2022-23 Tasmanian Budget for Aboriginal cultural burning in Tasmania to support joint land management outcomes between the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) and Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

The funding provided will enable the PWS to employ Aboriginal Engagement Officers to ensure the success of the cultural burning program, support engagement activities between the PWS, Tasmanian Aboriginal people and organisations, and identify areas that are suitable for cultural burning.

Aboriginal cultural burning practices have been undertaken for tens of thousands of years and have helped shape the Tasmanian landscape we know today.

Importantly, this Government recognises that Aboriginal cultural burning in Tasmania is only undertaken by Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

This is because of the deep, ongoing connection that Tasmanian Aboriginal people have with their land, including sophisticated land management practices such as cool burning, and the important part this has played in Tasmania’s culture and history.

We want to draw on the deep connection Tasmanian Aboriginals have with this land and to share in their knowledge of cultural burning practices to help reduce the impact of wildfires, and also deliver ecological benefits for Tasmania’s landscapes, including fauna and flora.

These important engagement activities will be supported by the Cultural Burning Policy and procedures, which is being undertaken in consultation with PWS Aboriginal staff and Tasmanian Aboriginal people, and will support Aboriginal community controlled organisations to undertake cultural burning activities.

This important body of work is currently out for consultation with input sought from Tasmanian Aboriginal people and organisations prior to the PWS undertaking consultation with other stakeholders.

The pilot program in 2021 also included a Cultural Burning Grants Program with grants provided to undertake cultural burns, purchase equipment, travel to burn locations, and attend Firestick Alliance training.

I am very pleased to announce that the grants program will continue with the PWS currently undertaking a review of last year’s program to inform the future structure of the program.

I am also pleased to announce that the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area Fire Management Plan has been finalised. The Plan outlines the adaptive management framework that will be utilised to modify fuel characteristics and behaviour, and to protect fire-sensitive natural and cultural historical assets that form an important part of our cultural landscape.

Sorell Emergency Services Hub

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management

Sorell Emergency Services Hub

9 June 2022

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is delivering on its commitment to build contemporary and fit-for-purpose facilities for our police and emergency services in Sorell, as part of our plan to keep Tasmanians safe.

As the South East region, and Sorell in particular, is one of Tasmania’s fastest growing areas, this project will provide the community with bolstered emergency services capability now and into the future.

I’m delighted that 60 volunteers who live and work in Sorell and surrounding areas will be attending the Tasmania Police Academy tonight to undertake their induction to the Sorell Emergency Services Hub for the TFS and SES.

Because these volunteers live and work in the Sorell area, they enable the hub to have around the clock response capability to fire, flood and road crash rescue, and a roster system will be put in place to ensure 24/7 coverage and response.

In addition, the 2022-23 Tasmanian Budget included $420,000 for our SES to purchase new rescue vehicles and a storm trailer to provide our SES with the equipment that they need to respond to emergencies at our new $12 million state of the art Sorell Emergency Services Hub.

From talking with volunteers, I understand that many people join their local brigade or unit for reasons including proximity to home and a sense of community with neighbours, friends and peers, therefore brigades such as Midway Point, Dodges Ferry, Orielton and Richmond will continue to operate and provide their local community with outstanding local emergency response and capability.

This sense of community is a vision we likewise share for the Sorell Emergency Services Hub, and it was great to attend the recent recruitment drive in April this year where locals were able to visit the new site and seek information on becoming a TFS or SES volunteer.

Tasmania is one of the safest places to live and raise a family because of the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s commitment to investing in our emergency services.