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Fair Work Legislation Amendment (First Responders) Bill 2023

This Bill makes it easier for current and former members of the Australian Federal Police, aviation firefighters, and first responders in the ACT to make a workers compensation claim for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to then obtain support.

What the Bill does

Currently, to access workers compensation for PTSD, first responders must prove that PTSD was caused by their job. It is well established that first responders are more likely to develop PTSD than the general population, given the repeated exposure to traumatic events over the course of their careers.

This Bill would flip the burden of proof, requiring that insurers presume that PTSD was caused by a first responder’s job. An insurer would then need to prove otherwise to challenge any compensation claim.

The Bill would apply to:

  • All current and former AFP employees
  • Firefighters
  • Ambulance officers
  • Emergency services communications operators
  • Members of the ACT emergency service.

Questions about the Bill:

  • The current Bill doesn’t outline the conditions on which a presumption can be made about a first responders’ PTSD. Which medical professions should be able to make a diagnosis and is there any clinical best practice that needs to be followed to reliably establish a diagnosis?
  • Are there any first responders that are not listed that do face higher rates of PTSD that should be accounted for in this Bill?
  • The current Bill is limited to Commonwealth first responders (e.g. AFP) and ACT first responders (e.g. paramedics). How do you believe the Commonwealth should engage with states and territories to harmonise laws after this Bill passes?


To provide feedback on the Bill, please use the survey via this link.

Full copy of the Bill:

A full copy of the draft Bill can be found here.