Hansard of the Legislative Council
Thursday 24 May 2018
Coroners Prevention Unit, Victoria - Tasmanian Equivalent
Mr FINCH (Rosevears) to LEADER of the GOVERNMENT in the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL, Mrs HISCUTT
Given the vital role of coroners in reducing preventable deaths in Tasmania -
(1) Does Tasmania have an equivalent of Victoria's Coroners Prevention Unit - CPU? As the minister is no doubt aware, Victoria's unit brings the work of coroners' teams together to look at fatal trends and recommends ways to alleviate them.
(2) If Tasmania does not have the equivalent of Victoria's Coroners Prevention Unit, how is the important work of coroners given maximum effect?
Mr President, I thank the member for Rosevears for his question.
(1) Tasmania does not have an equivalent of Victoria's Coroners Protection Unit; however, it is clear coroners play a vital role in reducing preventable deaths in Tasmania.
(2) The equivalent functions of the CPU are undertaken by staff of the Coronial Division at the direction of the Coroner. Through the important work of the coroners themselves, the member would be aware that where the Coroner makes findings and recommendations that pertain to government functions in Tasmania, the Government will carefully consider any such findings and recommendations and implement changes accordingly.
As an example, I draw the honourable member's attention to the findings handed down by the Coroner on 30 June 2017 in relation to the deaths of three people in the custody of the Tasmania Prison Service in 2015. After the Coroner's report was handed down, careful consideration was given to the Coroner's findings and recommendations, with all 10 recommendations relating directly to the TPS being supported in principle. Three of the recommendations have been fully implemented by the TPS, while the other seven are in progress and are being treated as a high priority.
Action was promptly taken; for example, to improve the management of suicide and self‑harm risk during prisoner transport through a review of the seatbelts used in the prisoner escort vehicles, and subsequent replacement of the seatbelts in Hobart and Launceston escort vehicles.