PEOPLE who assault an ambulance officer will face up to three months in jail under changes to the Ambulance Service Act to be tabled in Parliament today.
Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne said the proposed laws would create a new offence of assaulting or threatening an ambulance service officer, which was currently dealt with under ordinary assault provisions.
The new offence will be punishable by a $13,000 fine or three months in jail.
Health and Community Service Union assistant secretary Tim Jacobson said ambulance officers suffered verbal abuse on a weekly basis, and the new laws would send a strong message against that kind of behaviour.
``Our members face enough challenges at work without the added challenge of being assaulted, so any change that the government can introduce to reduce that is welcome,'' he said.
The union does not support a Liberal Party policy to introduce a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 months' jail for anyone who assaulted an emergency service worker.
Ambulance Tasmania was the only emergency service group to object to mandatory sentencing in its response to a Sentencing Advisory Council report last year.
Other changes proposed in the Ambulance Service Amendment Bill are increasing the fine for false triple-0 calls from $1300 to $13,000, rules for non-ambulance patient transfer services and greater definition of the term paramedic.
``It will also end confusion for event managers by ensuring only people who are suitably qualified and accredited will be able to use the title of paramedic,'' Ms O'Byrne said.