Thursday, 21 March 2024


COVID-19 vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination

Renee HEATH (Eastern Victoria) (18:06): (814) My adjournment is for the Minister for Emergency Services, and the action that I seek is for the minister to put an end to COVID vaccine mandates so emergency services workers can get back to work. Recent findings by the Queensland Supreme Court determined that the state’s COVID vaccine mandates for police officers and ambulance workers limited their ability to give full, free and informed consent for medical treatment. The continuance of Victoria’s mandates continually hurt our essential services industries from operating at full capacity, and it is exacerbating burnout and denying efficient and critical services.

I have been repeatedly contacted by a representative of the Australian Firefighters Alliance, who remains frustrated that Victoria is the only state that has not dropped its mandates for career firefighters. Andrew said:

The AFA alliance is aware from senior officers of a severe shortage of staff that is appearing on a shift-by-shift basis. The minimum requirement per base is four firefighters, including the officer in charge, but regularly this has dropped to three. It is unprecedented to hear every week of firefighters on leave who are asked to come back and fill vacancies across Victoria. It reduces the number of crew, and it severely limits their ability to perform rescues. At least 30, but probably up to 50 firefighters, are still affected by the mandate. Some cannot work due to being vaccine-injured, but those who have improved enough are still not allowed to come back to work without a booster, even if they have a valid exemption. Yet others are being stood down for non-compliance without pay.

This is unfair, and I am asking the minister to intervene.