Labor promises funding for two-year trauma trial for firefighters

LOCAL firefighters have applauded an announcement by the state Opposition for a $200,000 trial over the next two years for specialised support for firefighters battling post-traumatic stress disorder. 

support: From left, Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight, Glenn Bullen with son Angus, Brenton Smith, Terry Fradd, state Labor MP Geoff Howard and Wayne Martin. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

support: From left, Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight, Glenn Bullen with son Angus, Brenton Smith, Terry Fradd, state Labor MP Geoff Howard and Wayne Martin. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

“We welcome any funding announcement into post-traumatic stress,” Ballarat firefighter Brenton Smith said. 

“Everyone has their own way of dealing with things, everyone goes through different things. We never know what we are going to come across when we clock on.”

Mr Smith said he was hopeful the Coalition government would match the election promise.

Speaking on the issue in Ballarat on Wednesday, Premier Denis Napthine said the government already had a program to help firefighters affected by PTSD.

“They are all eligible under this government in Victoria for all of the services they need if they are affected by their firefighting duties,” he said. 

“If they are affected psychologically, if they are affected physically, they are eligible for all the support they need, absolutely 100 per cent.”

Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight said the trial came after the United Firefighters Union commissioned a report into levels of PTSD among firefighters.

“(It) can impact any part of your life, your working life, your relationships and how you cope with day-to-day  experiences,” she said. 

Ms Knight said the trial would provide one-on-one counselling.

matthew.dixon@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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