Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (11:07): I thank the Government Whip and very much thank the government for supporting this private member’s bill. This is an important but very simple and very straightforward change. I will not go over all the reasons why both the opposition and the government have decided to support this, but I would like to thank Courtney White in particular, an RFDS staff member working at the Marree clinic, who brought this to my attention a few months ago and raised it with me. Very shortly after that I spoke with Mr John Lynch, the CEO of RFDS SA/NT, to be sure that that was something the organisation wanted as well, and certainly that was affirmed. This is incredibly important and incredibly straightforward.
For those members who may not have followed this debate too closely, the reason why it is important is that the nature of the work that the RFDS is doing and the nature of the service that the RFDS is providing to people in more remote places has changed over the years. While it still includes the traditional flying to a remote town or a remote sheep or cattle station to pick up a sick or injured person who is in need of urgent care, they now run some clinics in remote places and do emergency callout work—much in the same way as ambulances do work in metropolitan country areas, as most members here would be familiar with.
The nature of the work has changed so the nature of the risk to RFDS employees has changed, and the risks have increased. It is very appropriate that they get exactly the same protection as already exists under the law for other emergency services workers who face these risks, so thank you again to the government.
As well as moving the Criminal Law (Forensic Procedures) (Emergency Services Providers) Amendment Bill 2017 here, I also wrote to the Attorney-General back on 19 October this year with regard to the Criminal Law Consolidation (General) Regulations 2006 to make the change that the Government Whip talked about because, while we need to change the law, we also need to adjust the prescribed employment list under ’emergency services provider’.
While I have not yet received a response from the Attorney-General, on the strength of the government’s support for the bill in this place, I am of course very optimistic that the Attorney-General will write back to me very soon and confirm that RFDS will be included in that emergency services provider list. I thank my colleagues for their support on this bill many months ago, and I thank the government for their support today.
Bill read a second time.
Mr VAN HOLST PELLEKAAN (Stuart) (11:11): I move:
That this bill be now read a third time.
Bill read a third time and passed.