SYDNEY: A new law aimed at better protecting frontline health and emergency services workers from assaults and violence has come into force in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW).
Assaulting these workers will be met with tough new penalties, ranging from up to 12 months in prison and/or a fine of A$2,200 ($1,378), to a maximum of 14 years in jail for the worst offenders, Xinhua news agency reported.
"These new laws reinforce the NSW government's commitment to strengthening frontline services and supporting those who selflessly serve in these critical roles," the state's Premier Dominic Perrottet said in a statement released on Thursday.
"This includes firefighters, paramedics, hospital medical staff, state emergency service workers, surf life savers and marine rescue volunteers," he said.
NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman said the new legislation is part of the state government's response to the report of the Assaults on Emergency Services Workers from NSW Sentencing Council, which had found a range of offences against emergency services workers across the state.
"The NSW government has ensured that firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, pharmacy staff, community health workers and NSW State Emergency Service frontline workers are covered by the new offences, in recognition of the significant work they do for our community," Speakman added.