Today’s correspondent says:

The Prime Minister should be shortly making a determination as to whether or not PTSD deaths in the ADF will be reviewed by a Royal Commission.  Given the findings from a Commonwealth Senate Inquiry (2019) and NSW Parliamentary Inquiry (2018) into PTSD in first responder agencies, and the lack of Government action.  My thoughts were, if you viewed the ADF as international first responders, and AFP as national first responders down the line to the RFS and other support agencies, then this would be a good time to have a Royal Commission into PTSD deaths in First Responder Agencies…

My question is: Does the State or Federal Government have a definition for a ‘first responder’.

The only definition, in law, of ‘first responder’ that I can find is in the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996 (Qld) r 174A .  That regulation defines first responder as a:

… person who—

(a) is appointed as an honorary ambulance officer under the Ambulance Service Act 1991, section 14 ; and

(b) is classified as a QAS First Responder by the Queensland Ambulance Service.

There is no definition of ‘first responder’ in the Ambulance Service Act 1991 (Qld) or its Ambulance Service Regulation 2015 (Qld).  This is a very specific definition for a specific purpose.


In context of his question, we can say that no, the federal and state governments do not have a legal definition of ‘first responder’ other than the one from Queensland quoted above.