A new scheme is underway to help rebuild trust, strengthen safety and respect and improve the culture at Ambulance Victoria.
Findings from the 2020 Independent Review into Workplace Equality within Ambulance Victoria outlined behaviour and a culture that the state government has called unacceptable.
The new independent restorative engagement scheme will be established as recommended by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC).
Ambulance Victoria’s dedicated employees and volunteers will be heard, and their experiences in the workplace acknowledged, as options for a scheme start to be explored.
As part of its review into workplace equality, VEOHRC recommended establishing a scheme for current and former employees and volunteers who had experienced discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation at Ambulance Victoria.
Work will now commence on developing options that will be explored by the Department of Justice and Community Safety – who will work closely with employees and volunteers as well as their unions, professional associations and the Department of Health.
Once established, the scheme will offer a range of outcomes to current and former employees and volunteers, including individual apologies, statements of regret, and financial compensation, as well as restorative sessions with senior leaders.
All outcomes will be focussed on what matters most to the participant and consideration will be given on how to best support each participant through the process.
The state government will receive advice by the end of the year on options for the scheme, which will launch next year and run for at least 18 months – backed by an investment of $8 million to support the delivery of VEOHRC’s recommendations, which have all been accepted in full.
Ambulance Victoria released an implementation plan – Safe, fair, inclusive: Your AV Roadmap 2022-2027 – with work well underway to implement all recommendations.
Ambulance Services Minister Gabrielle Williams said the scheme will be carefully designed and in place next year.
“This restorative process is about listening, acknowledging and responding to the harm caused to anyone that was discriminated against or who experienced sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation,” she said.
“The kind of behaviours we heard about through VEOHRC’s investigation are completely unacceptable and there is no place in Ambulance Victoria for those who engage in or seek to protect, harmful or unlawful conduct.”