Kate initially commenced voluntarily supporting psychologically injured Queensland Police Officers and their families, after identifying deficiencies within multi-organisational systems and processes.
It has become clear that organisational issues and the various legislative and procedural obstacles within the workers’ compensation system are widespread and impacting upon workers all over Queensland. Kate is passionate and determined to achieve better support for psychologically injured workers at both an organisational and state level, and believes that nobody deserves to be left to fight alone. Everybody deserves fairness and justice, and Kate has helped a number of workers achieve this by submitting reviews and appeals to the Workers’ Compensation Regulator and Queensland Industrial Relations Commission on their behalf. This has resulted in successful outcomes in cases where law firms turned their backs.
Kate has personally met with politicians, initiated contact with journalists and lawyers, and written to various members of parliament to seek changes to matters that adversely impact upon psychologically injured police. Additionally, Kate has initiated surveys, conducted research, and compiled reports to validate that there is a need for legislative, organisational and systemic reform.
This included providing over 200 pages of evidence to Work Health and Safety Queensland to bring to light the systemic bullying causing psychological harm in the Queensland Police Service, and deficient risk management systems and record-keeping practices of the organisation. As a direct result of Kate’s information, Work Health and Safety Queensland is currently reviewing the practices of the Queensland Police Service. It is hoped that the review by Work Health and Safety Queensland will identify breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and improve current systems and organisational behaviours that are adversely impacting upon both sworn and civilian Queensland Police Service employees.
In 2018 Kate gave evidence before the Senate Committee Hearing at the Parliamentary Inquiry into mental health conditions experienced by first responders. This opportunity arose after Kate forwarded a submission to the enquiry highlighting the problems first responders currently face. A number of recommendations have been made by the Senate Committee as a result of evidence and submissions provided during the Inquiry.
Justice 4 Workers is currently advocating for reform in the following areas that are significantly impacting upon Queensland Police;
- Legislative changes to the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld), in particular the exclusion clause set out in s.32 (5) of the Act, as well as making decision makers legislatively accountable for maladministration. Further desired changes include removal of the 6 month time limit for lodging a workers’ compensation claim for a psychological injury due to the fluctuating nature of psychological injuries and often delayed onset of symptoms and diagnosis.
- A Royal Commission, into the deficiencies of the Queensland workers’ compensation system with a view to bringing about improved processes
- A Royal Commission into the Queensland Police Service, including the treatment of injured workers, bullying, internal disciplinary system, abuse of power, and allegations of corruption
- Improved injury management processes within the Queensland Police Service
- Proactive and prevention-based organisational wellbeing initiatives within the Queensland Police Service
- Career transition support and post-retirement support for officers medically retiring from the Queensland Police Service
- Suicide prevention and awareness
- Removal of the Queensland Police Commissioner’s power to suspend officers without pay. Furthermore, in cases when suspension is later lifted and officers are cleared of wrongdoing, Justice 4 Workers seeks to remove the Commissioner’s current power to withhold from back-pay, an amount equal to any salary that is earned through secondary employment whilst suspended.