Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Supporting Emergency Services Workers

As a former policeman and SOCIT Detective, Stuart is very passionate about Victoria’s emergency services and the ‘thin blue line’ that faces frontline workers, especially police. He has been a fierce advocate for police and other frontline workers’ mental health, including through the #FightingPTSDVicPol campaign.

Some achievements DHJP has had regarding our emergency services include:

Provisional payments for emergency service workers – DHJP successfully moved a motion for presumptive legislation which allows first responders to have access to WorkCover for mental health, just as they would for physical injuries, without facing delay and red tape. DHJP were very pleased with the Government for turning this into law in 2020.

Always backing the CFA – DHJP has always supported the CFA and its members. Northern Victoria MP Tania Maxwell is a CFA volunteer and with both members representing regional communities, there was no choice but to support the CFA in fighting for a new deal that would benefit both paid and volunteer firefighters.

Reducing the Emergency Services Assault Loophole – DHJP worked hard to lobby the State Government to successfully remove the loophole that was allowing those who assault emergency services to avoid the now mandatory 6-month jail sentence because they had chosen to become intoxicated or take drugs. Using substances is a choice and shouldn’t be a loophole to escape a sanction.

Tasers for all frontline police – Stuart worked with The Police Association Victoria, uniform members of VicPol and the family of an officer who was shot with his own gun to get all VicPol frontline officers equipped with tasers; a non-lethal weapon. This allows police to not have to make a split-second decision between a baton or a gun. He asked the Police Minister to fund the rollout on more than 4 occasions in Parliament. The State Government committed to the rollout in December 2021.

Police in Schools – Stuart was a key player in getting the Police in Schools program to return, now called the Schools Engagement Model. Working with Community Advocacy Alliance to secure the return of the program, having police in schools will ensure the relationship with children and police is a positive one. The results from a pilot in Corio were fantastic, with one student – who had been assaulted – going to Corio Police Station and asking for the officer who attended the school specifically.

Defence Community Dogs – DHJP have been lobbying the Government for a trial of the ‘Defence Community Dogs’ program in Victoria [watch here] for three years. The program rescues dogs are trained by prisoners for veterans who have Post Traumatic Stress Injury. The prisoners emulate the symptoms of the veteran – the program is quite incredible. DHJP hopes to eventually extend this to frontline services. This campaign has been one of the first Stuart started, after establishing a close friendship with the now late Ron Fenton OAM who had his own assistance dog, Yogi.

Better ambulance response times – DHJP, especially Northern Victoria MP Tania Maxwell, have been lobbying the State Government to improve ambulance response times long before COVID was around. Following some tragic ambulance cases in the Northern region, DHJP has pushed for better resourcing and more stations to improve ambulance response times in regional Victoria.

There is still much more work to do, but we are committed to fighting for the incredibly selfless frontline workers in Victoria.


Keep up with the latest
Western Victoria News.

Subscribe to my newsletter…

Enter your details to keep up to date with what I am doing in Parliament and in the community.