Hefty Fines for False 000 Calls

2 Dec 2008 4:00 PMJann Stuckey

2 December 2008

Member for Currumbin, Jann Stuckey praised the invaluable work of Ambulance officers and Firies in parliament this week when she spoke on the Emergency Service Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 which addressed the inappropriate use
of triple 000 calls to ambulance officers and fire rescue.

“This bill is designed to deter false or frivolous triple 000 calls and abuse of the system by those who do not require this service and provides the ability to serve infringement notices on those members of the public who seek to abuse the service in this manner,” said Ms Stuckey

“Disarmingly, during the 2006-2007 period the Queensland Ambulance Service identified 2378 calls as possible false calls. This shamefully high number translates to countless hours of precious ambulance officer time wasted on selfish individuals who in some strange or perverse way think it funny to dial 000.

“No doubt some of these calls were hoaxes and a further sign that some people in our neighbourhoods either do not realise the danger they may be causing to a legitimately ill patient or just do not care what happens to them.

“The maximum penalty for the QAS false call offence has been increased to100 penalty units.  At $75 per unit, this is a hefty fine, and so it should be–otherwise it is one year’s imprisonment–to reflect the seriousness with which this offence is viewed.

“What a pity this government did not put more thought into the effect that the 2003 legislation, which introduced the ambulance levy, would have on the demand for service. Safeguards should have been implemented then to ensure that this essential service was not misused in the first place.
 
“In adopting this blanket approach, with some residents paying two and three levies,
it is not surprising to learn that thousands of calls are not legitimate. 

“Hopefully this new legislation will put a stop to caller abuse so that our ambos and firies can go about their business in an efficient manner and save lives.

“I will continue to advocate strongly for fairer conditions for all of these dedicated workers in the emergency services field whether in paid positions or volunteers. 

“We are fortunate in Currumbin to have Tomewin, Currumbin Valley and Tallebudgera Valley volunteer rural fire brigades with members who are long-time residents and between them have hundreds of years of experience.

Media Contact:- Jann Stuckey – 0439 755 919