"AT THE end of the day, I go to work to help people in need and I don't expect to be coming home with bruises and bumps and emotional scars. I want to go home to my family every day and so do my colleagues."
Those are the words of Queensland Ambulance Service advanced care paramedic of Childers Matthew Macann, after recent figures showed there were 12 assaults on paramedics in the Wide Bay region last financial year.
The statistics come from the campaign #ZeroTolerance, which follows a significant increase in assaults on emergency service workers across the state.
Today, local paramedics and politicians rallied in Bundaberg to get the campaign message out that violence towards emergency services personnel would not be tolerated.
"From official statistics, there has been a 20% increase of reported assaults against paramedics in the last financial year compared to the previous financial year," Mr Macann said. "We want to get the message across that we are not going to tolerate it and to make the public aware that this is something that is occurring that shouldn'toccur."
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett showed his support for the campaign and said the LNP understood the need for greater protection of health workers.
"As part of the former LNP government's Safe Night Out Strategy to crack down on violence, if you commit an aggravated serious assault on a nurse, doctor, paramedic or any health professional, you could be hit with up to 14 years imprisonment," he said.
Mr Bennett encouraged others to get on board and support the #ZeroTolerance campaign.
"This is about ensuring our dedicated, hardworking emergency services personnel get to go home safely to their families at the end of their shift," he said. "I am hearing reports of paramedics being verbally or physically abused on a daily basis. These incidents prevent them from doing their job of ultimately saving lives."
Mr Macann said emergency services personnel needed to see the government initiating a process that would deliver real, workable solutions for protecting paramedics.
"This is why paramedics are imploring as many people as possible to spread the #ZeroTolerance concept in a proactive manner," he said. "Solutions may include tougher sentencing; better self-defence and de-escalation training; and a better flow of information between police and ambulance services for the purpose of better situational knowledge on dispatch to an incident."
Mr Bennett said he supported the implementing of further measures and reiterated the LNP's support to fast track a trial of body-worn cameras for Queensland paramedics. He said GoPros would provide evidence of assaults and make people think twice about throwing punches at paramedics.
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