Mildura Weekly : Friday June 3 Vol 10 No 30
6 NEWS MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2016 • From previous page “This review is about recog- nising that police battle these issues, and we are no different from anyone else.” Acting Insp. Matheson said that with Victoria Police now a far more diverse organisation, it was vital that the mental health and well-being of members and staff became a priority. “As an organisation we are far more diverse than 15 or 20 years ago, when the profession was dominated by men,” he said. “Our mentality around this issue had to shift, because unfortunately we do have a number of people within the Victoria Police who are battling post-traumatic stress disor- der, depression and substance abuse. “Police suicide is also an is- sue, and quite a few members across the State are currently off work on personal leave, and are known to us.” Chief Commissioner Gra- ham Ashton confirmed on Tuesday that the mental health of police employees was a top priority. “Policing can be a tough job. It’s high stakes, highly scru- tinised and very busy,” he said. “In serving the community, our employees are exposed to dis- turbing and distressing things that the average person rarely sees or experiences. “The mental health and well-being of our employees is absolutely paramount. I am committed to implementing the report’s recommendations, and am heartened by the au- thors’ strong belief that if we enact the plan laid out for us, we can significantly improve the well-being of our entire or- ganisation.” Chief Commissioner Ash- ton said the review, however, left no doubt that there was still alotofworktodo. “As an organisation we must fundamentally change the way we view mental health,” he said. “We need to build a culture that better un- derstands mental health. A cul- ture in which our employees feel safe to ask for help without fear of judgement or preju- dice.” Acting Insp. Matheson said it was now important for Victo- ria Police to engage and educate the family of police members around mental health, while ensuring that retired members of the force receive the appro- priate support. “We have a responsibil- ity to those retired and former members to make sure they are okay,” he said. Acting Insp. Matheson said focus also needs to be placed on regional police members, ensuring they weren’t disad- vantaged in treatments or ser- vices offered because of their distance from Melbourne. Mildura police welcome mental health review Angry firies speak out following Fiskville inquiry • From Page 3 The Committee heard mainly from people “looking for answers,” with some wanting to know if the illnesses they or friends and family have are due to exposure to contami- nation at Fiskville, while others were concerned that their health may suffer in the future. The evidence and findings outlined in the final report “give weight to their claims that there is a connection between chemical exposure and particular ill- nesses.” The final report states that there was “a pattern of behav- iour that continued over many years at Fiskville,” saying that people who lived and worked at the college were placed at unnecessary risk, and that the corpo- rate knowledge that should have pre- vented exposure to contamination was either not passed on or was lost. The Committee said “of equal concern” was the advice received from the Victorian Government So- licitor’s Office, which indicated that the CFA did not spend any money on remediating Fiskville prior to Decem- ber 2012. This was despite several consul- tants, commissioned by the CFA, rec- ommending a variety of remediation activities be carried out at the site. It wasn’t until a story published in the Herald Sun in December 2011, which outlined some of the concerns around the Fiskville site, that the CFA responded to the contamination by commissioning Professor Robert Joy to conduct an investigation into past – or ‘historical’ practices – at the col- lege between 1971 and 1999. Senior former CFA management and board members reportedly told the inquiry that they were unaware of contamination issues until December 2011, however these claims were later contra- dicted by the board’s April 2010 minutes, with CFA CEO Mick Bourke advising that Air Services Australia had scrapped plans to spend $12million on the facility because of contamination con- cerns. The inquiry stated that the International Agency for Research on Cancer had also linked firefighting to three cancers – testicu- lar, prostate and non- Hodgkin lymphoma – and classified fire- fighting as possibly “carcinogenic to hu- mans.” Mr Andrikopoulos said that while a num- ber of CFA members were “battling” with the news, it would not affect their role within the community. “Our job is to protect others, and safety is paramount,” he said. “We’re still as dedicated as ever.” SALE ENDS: 12TH JUNE 2016 *Your pharmacist will advise you whether the preparation is suitable for your condition. Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see your Healthcare Professional. **Vitamins may only be of assistance if your dietary intake is inadequate. The pharmacist reserves the right not to supply when contrary to our professional and ethical obligation. Retail quantities only. 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