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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
    The Honourable Jo-Ann Miller

    Action to make the workplace safer for female firies

    Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrective Services
    The Honourable Jo-Ann Miller

    Thursday, August 20, 2015

    Action to make the workplace safer for female firies

    The Palaszczuk Government has today accepted all 30 recommendations of an independent review into allegations of sexual harassment and workplace bullying in the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES).

    Margaret Allison was commissioned to lead the review late last year following reports of an incident involving QFES employees.

    Fire and Emergency Services Minister Jo-Ann Miller said the review identified systemic organisational problems within QFES that limited the organisation’s ability to respond effectively to complaints of sexual harassment.

    “This sort of behaviour is utterly intolerable and must be stopped. That’s why the Palaszczuk Government will act swiftly to implement all of the recommendations. We owe it to the women involved and every woman in QFES,” Minister Miller said.

    Minister Miller said action had already been taken on many of the recommendations outlined in the review, including:

    • A special QFES harassment information line to provide confidential services to all staff, along with an advisory network;
    • A new complaints management framework to help staff and managers ensure that the QFES workplace is free of harassment and discrimination;
    • An update of training material across Queensland to reflect appropriate behaviour with a focus on preventing harassment and supporting staff to make complaints;
    • A trial of a new system of mandatory reporting of complaints, actions taken, and an electronic complaints management system;
    • New arrangements to support female recruits through their training and on placement.
    “These are important reforms. However, there are other recommendations that will also help women feel safe and secure in the workplace, such as replacing the Ethical Standards Unit with a new workplace conduct unit.

    “We will also embark on a targeted recruitment campaign to promote fire-fighting as a career for women. QFES will establish a network of trained equity advisors to provide advice to employees concerned about discriminatory behaviour, harassment and bullying.

    “Priority will also be given to placing women officers in groups of two or more after they have graduated from the academy.

    “We will consult widely on these recommendations with the intent of implementing them lock, stock and barrel.

    “Women in the workplace deserve to be treated with respect at all times. The government, and the people of Queensland would expect nothing less.”

    Minister Miller said an implementation committee would be established to oversee the reform process.

    “Our government’s priority is to put a stop to discriminatory behaviour in the workplace and create greater gender equity across the entire organisation.”

    [ENDS] August 21

    Media contact: Brent Davidson (Minister Miller’s Office) 0438 696 185