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New minimum jail time proposed in crackdown on violence against frontline Tasmanian workers

Pulse Tasmania
A person behind jail bars wearing handcuffs. Image / Stock

Tasmania’s frontline workers will be given more protection under a new law, with the state government set to introduce legislation that will see those who cause serious bodily harm to them face a minimum six-month jail sentence.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Guy Barnett said every Tasmanian worker has the right to be safe at work.

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“I cannot be any clearer, it is totally unacceptable for Tasmanians, who are just trying to go about their business, while they work to be seriously assaulted or harmed,” he said.

“Anyone who assaults our frontline workers – be it child safety officers, our correctional services officers, our firies, our security guards, our health workers and more – will feel the full force of the law if they seriously assault or harm a worker.”

Health Minister Guy Barnett. Image / Pulse

The Liberal’s Sentencing Amendment (Presumptive Sentencing for Assaults on Frontline Workers) Bill 2024 will amend the Sentencing Act 1997 to provide for a presumption of minimum sentencing in relation to offences causing serious bodily harm to certain frontline workers.

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association have welcomed the move, saying it “marks a significant step forward” in safeguarding the wellbeing of people who are “essential to our community and economy”.

Tasmanian Hospitality Association Chief Executive Steve Old. Image / Pulse

“As a community, we must support and protect those who contribute so significantly to our daily lives and our economy,” THA CEO Steve Old said.

Shadow Treasurer Josh Willie says with only 6 sitting days left in the first 100 days of the new government, Labor will be putting pressure on the Liberals to deliver on a range of promises they have made to Tasmanians.

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“It’s really important that the Government stays on track, that there is economic activity being generated,” he said.

Frontline workers in Tasmania includes:

* Child safety officers
* Correctional services officers
* Emergency services officers, like firefighters
* A health and safety officer
* A public officer
* A retail or hospitality worker
* A security officer, like those at licensed venues
* A transport worker

The changes will be debated in parliament this week.

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