APS advocacy ensuring more protections for our first responder heroes

Australian Psychological Society

Following APS advice, the Federal Government has announced key changes to better support first responders with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

These changes close existing loopholes and provide first responders with presumptive rights for PTSD insurance claims, making it far easier for first responders to have their claims accepted and receive psychological treatment.

We know from our members that first responders suffer disproportionately higher rates of PTSD than the rest of the population and have previously had to prove that they incurred PTSD during their work, which has been an incredibly hard threshold to meet during the insurance claim process.

The changes also formally recognise and prioritise the role of psychologists in the assessment and treatment of first responders with PTSD.

We are delighted to have contributed to this positive change which passed the Senate yesterday afternoon.

Under the Closing Loopholes Bill the government will:

– Reverse the onus of proof for first responders with PTSD, to improve access to work health and safety supports, including for paramedics, firefighters and federal police officers

– Enact new guidelines on independent medical assessments for workers, and;

– Initiate a comprehensive independent review of Comcare, the national work health and safety, and workers’ compensation authority.

These welcome changes are timely as emergency services enter a crucial time of year for community need and climate-related natural disasters continue to devastate communities across the country.

We will keep APS members updated on the new guidelines for independent medical assessments and the Comcare review as reforms progress.



Dr Zena Burgess FAICD FAPS

Chief Executive Officer

Australian Psychological Society

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