By Staff Writer
Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Julia Gillard, has announced that emergency response teams are to be covered by workers compensation.
In a joint statement with Attorney-General Robert McClelland, the Deputy Prime Minister announced that personnel involved in disaster response, domestically and internationally, will be covered by workers compensation as soon as teams are formed.
The emergency response teams, deployed by Emergency Management Australia (EMA), will be covered under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.
They may comprise personnel engaged in search and rescue, fire-fighting, medicine and surgery, or other areas of technical expertise.
McClelland said the teams could include state personnel from state and territory emergency agencies and private corporations.
“These teams coordinated by EMA, are often deployed at short notice —less than 24 hours —and it is important that this coverage be in place as soon as the teams are formed,” he said.
Gillard said putting the workers compensation provision in place was in recognition of the “important and often dangerous role that we have called on them to do”.
The declaration also extends to all non-Australian Government personnel, deployed by the Attorney-General’s Department to disaster affected zones within Australia and overseas.
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