Today's announcement from Labor is an insult to Victoria's hardworking firefighters and would mean a significant funding cut to the psychological health support already being provided by the Napthine Government.
Record funding has ensured both MFB and CFA already provide millions of dollars for a range of health services to staff for personal or work related issues, including anyone suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
This financial year alone CFA has spent approximately $1.8 million for the health support of firefighters, with MFB providing funding of more than $1.1 million.
Both career and volunteer CFA firefighters and MFB career firefighters currently have access to independent counselling services, peer support and chaplaincy programs, and all employees are provided with debriefing sessions following any critical incidents.
Today's announcement from Labor of $200,000 in support services for firefighters over the next two years would mean a multi-million dollar cut to a broad range of essential health services which are already available.
Once again Labor have failed to do their homework.
In addition to support provided by Victoria's fire agencies, firefighters can also submit claims through WorkCover.
Firefighters are also entitled to make a claim under the state's workers compensation legislation, for injuries suffered during the course of employment, including PTSD.
The average cost per PTSD claim for just one firefighter alone is $44,000, which clearly demonstrates that Labor's measly announcement of $100,000 per year will not go very far.
The Coalition Government greatly values the commitment of firefighters and the critical role they play in responding to emergencies and keeping Victorian's safe.
We recognise firefighters can be faced with exceptionally difficult circumstances and we are committed to ensuring their physical and mental health remains the number one priority.