The Guardian September 8, 1999

Campaign for compo rights

Victorian Emergency Services workers have condemned the Kennett 
Government and the State's WorkCover Authority for the removal of their 
rights to sue negligent employers and third parties under common law.

In a historic joint sitting of representatives from the Executives of 
Victorian Ambulance Employees' Association and the Victorian Police 
Association, a resolution was passed calling for a repeal of section 134A 
of the government's Accident Compensation Act.

The resolution "condemns the removal of rights for emergency service 
workers to sue their employer or a third party if seriously injured whilst 
on duty."

The "joint meeting signifies the beginning of a campaign to inform 
emergency service workers and the general public about the removal of 
rights experienced by those who put themselves at risk daily to protect our 

The meeting also condemned the "WorkCover Authority for its political role 
in the stripping back of the rights and entitlements of injured workers by 
supporting the 1997 amendments to the WorkCover legislation."

Ambulance Employees' Association Secretary, Rod Morris, said that Emergency 
Service workers face danger and take calculated risks daily in the belief 
that others will honour their obligations, such as providing a safe and 
healthy working environment.

"All we are seeking is the right to pursue those who cause us harm in our 
jobs as a result of their negligence. It is a basic right that everyone 
should be entitled to."

Graham Kent, Assistant Secretary of the Victorian Police Association, said 
Association members are constantly confronted by extremely stressful and 
traumatic situations in their work.

"Employers, like everyone else, have obligations. The Victorian Government 
and the WorkCover Authority also have obligations, particularly to those 
who provide special services to the community.

"We are going to campaign to make sure the public are made aware of what is 
at stake here."

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