26 September 2023

Ambulance Victoria probe gets green light

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The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is to examine discrimination and sexual harassment within Ambulance Victoria (AV) as a part of an independent review.

The review was requested by the Chair of AV, Ken Lay and Chief Executive, Tony Walker following reports of sex discrimination and sexual harassment within the organisation.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton said it was distressing to hear that women working at AV had endured sexual harassment and discrimination in their workplace.

“Speaking up about these things is no easy task, and I commend the courageous individuals who’ve come forward for sharing their stories and the harm they’ve experienced,” Commissioner Hilton said.

“Bringing these experiences to light is such an important catalyst for genuine cultural change within an organisation,” she said.

Commissioner Hilton said that while the terms of reference for the review were yet to be finalised, it was expected to examine sex discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation in AV workplaces.

“Independent reviews are a valuable tool for critically assessing a workplace’s culture, biases and values and for developing important accountability mechanisms,” she said.

“They can help an organisation embed a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion, and that respects women and people of all genders.”

She said changing workplace culture took committed leadership, a desire to continually improve and an understanding that a safe and inclusive culture was critical to an organisation’s performance.

“Ambulance Victoria has acted decisively, and we look forward to working with them,” Commissioner Hilton said.

She said people who had experienced discrimination or sexual harassment could contact the Commission’s Enquiry Line on 1300 292 153 for more information about their rights and how to make a complaint.

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