Small communities missing out on defibrillator funding
15 December 2015
Tuesday 15 December 2015
Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan has highlighted a major flaw in the Andrews Labor Government’s Defibrillators for Sporting Clubs and Facilities Program.
In Parliament Ms Ryan brought the government’s attention to a gap in the program that excludes small towns without sporting clubs from applying for funding for life-saving defibrillators.
Ms Ryan said to apply, clubs must be non-government, not for profit and participating in an organised sport recognised by Sport and Recreation Victoria or the Australian Sports Commission.
“This means that smaller rural communities such as Baddaginnie which has a fantastic, active not-for-profit organisation in the Baddaginnie Community Inc., as well as a Country Fire Authority brigade, cannot apply for funding because they have no sporting club.
“Towns without sporting clubs deserve the same access to life-saving facilities as any other community and I urge the government to re-examine the programs guidelines to ensure no one is disadvantaged.”
Ms Ryan has also recently highlighted the inability of volunteer CFA brigades to have the option of becoming life-saving first responders in medical emergencies.
The Emergency Medical Response program trains CFA crews in advanced first aid and equips them with oxygen and defibrillators to help respond to urgent ambulance calls, particularly in cases of cardiac or respiratory arrest.
Ms Ryan said the current eligibility criteria of the program was restricted to integrated brigades that are staffed by both volunteer and career firefighters.
“This restriction means rural brigades such as Thoona for example are not eligible,” Ms Ryan said.
“If you live in a small community, having trained volunteers with emergency equipment such as defibrillators could be the difference between life and death.
“There is a significant hole being left in many of regional Victoria’s small towns when it comes to accessing funding for this life-saving equipment and the government must look at ways to fix this.”