Mines rescue to benefit from new first responder laws

CFMEU Mining & Energy

Mines rescue crews attending mine accidents will be able to access support for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) more quickly and easily under new laws for first responders passed by the Queensland Government yesterday.

The union campaigned to ensure mines rescue personnel are covered by the law which also protects police, ambulance officers, and firefighters.

The new laws will ensure first responders’ diagnosed PTSD claims will be deemed work-related ensuring they get immediate treatment and benefits under the workers’ compensation scheme.

First responders are exposed daily to traumatic incidents most people can only imagine and have rates of mental health conditions 10 times higher than the Australian workforce generally.

These new laws provide a smoother pathway to compensation and support.

Stephen Smyth, CFMEU Mining & Energy Queensland District President, says it is a good outcome for mine rescue personnel to be covered by the new laws.

“Mines rescue teams witness horrific scenes, and they need to receive support quickly and with a minimum of paperwork and legal hoops to jump through,” says Stephen Smyth.

“Last week marked the anniversary of the underground gas explosion at the Grosvenor mine which left five miners fighting for their lives in hospital for months with terrible burns.

“Our union appeared at Parliamentary hearings on this issue to ensure mine rescue personnel are covered.

“Our advocacy means it will flow on to other industries as well, like quarry and metalliferous mining.

“This is an important improvement for Queensland’s first responders and the union will continue to advocate for better and fairer laws for mining and energy workers.”

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