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Message from Ambulance Victoria’s Chair

Message from Ambulance Victoria’s Chair

This Report is both painful and confronting.

It has laid bare a significant part of Ambulance Victoria that many might not believe existed, but it does.

The breadth and depth of issues of incivility, disrespect, discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation in our workplace are deeply disturbing.

Far too many of these stories hide in plain sight – accepted, tolerated, or ignored.

Each and every one of these stories recount a level of harm that has been inflicted on our people by those they work alongside. Sometimes the harm is short lived, sometimes it is career ending, often it ends in long term pain and suffering.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission must be commended for their work in bringing these experiences to life.

For people like me in a position of power and influence, the work has contributed to a far deeper understanding of the depth of the challenges that the Board, the Executive, and all of those who work within the organisation face.

It is now the time to deeply reflect on what this work tells us about our workplace and what needs to change to make the organisation a better, safer and more equal place to work.

A workplace based on safety, respect and trust is essential.

It has never been more important than during these COVID times when our people are working harder than ever to look after the Victorian community.

We recognise the significant effort of our workforce during these unprecedented and challenging times.

The Ambulance Victoria Board is committed to working with the CEO and the Executive Committee to purge the organisation of the destructive elements of our culture and to improve and safeguard our workplace for all those who work at Ambulance Victoria.

The Commission has recognised that the organisation has undertaken a significant reform journey over the past six years, delivering the biggest era of change in Ambulance Victoria’s history.

That reform journey must now continue and our work has begun. The courage of those who have come forward must be rewarded with a renewed commitment and drive to make things better.

That courage must be the catalyst for immediate and sustainable change.

The voices of victim survivors have been heard.

On behalf of the Board, I acknowledge and unreservedly apologise to the people – past and present – who have experienced unacceptable hurt and harm within the Ambulance Victoria workplace.

I apologise for the further harm caused when the organisation’s response has failed them.

The Board is reflecting on how we will do better and the leadership role we must play in not simply holding the organisation to account, but in setting the standards and tone as part of our positive duty to prevent harm and foster workplace of diversity, equality and inclusion.

We can and will do more to ensure we care for the carers.

As a leader, words and commitments are sometimes all too easy to utter.

This Board will be judged on our success in honouring the courage of those who have come forward by making Ambulance Victoria a better place to work.

Ken Lay AO APM
Ambulance Victoria