Today’s question is

In South Australia, as in the rest of Australia now, there are certain terms that are protected in relation to the provision of healthcare, including ‘nurse’ and ‘paramedic’. Does the same apply to the term of ‘ambulance’? is there anything stopping a first aid provider from placing a large sticker on their van and calling it an ‘ambulance’?

Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland

In Victoria (Ambulance Services Act 1986 (Vic) s 39(1)(c))) a person must not:

… use the word “ambulance” (other than on a registration label) on any vehicle that is not owned or operated by an ambulance service without the written authority of the Secretary.

In Tasmania (Ambulance Service Act 1982 (Tas) s 39):

Unless authorised by the Commissioner, a person must not drive, operate or have charge of, or allow another person to drive, operate or have charge of, a vehicle, other than an ambulance, that is –

(a) marked with the word “ambulance” ; or

(b) otherwise marked or altered, or bears any inscription –

so as to imply, or lead to the belief, that the vehicle is an ambulance capable of providing ambulance services.

In Queensland (Ambulance Service Act 1991 (Qld) s 48):

(1) A person must not—
(a) without the written authority of the Minister—use the words ‘Ambulance Service’ or any similar name, title or description; or…
(c) … use the word ‘Ambulance’ on any vehicle that is not operated by the service…

Again, as noted in a comment below respect to Victoria, this restriction does not apply to St John Ambulance Australia (Qld) or to ‘the use of the words ‘animal ambulance’ on a vehicle owned or operated by an animal welfare organisation for the transport of sick or injured animals’ (s 48(2))

South Australia

The Health Care Act 2008 (SA) s 57 says:

A person must not display the term “Emergency Ambulance” on a motor vehicle driven on a public road unless the vehicle is being used—

(a) by SAAS; or

(b) by a person in circumstances prescribed by the regulations.

That does not stop the use of the word ‘ambulance’, just ‘emergency ambulance’.

The ACT and NSW

In the ACT (Emergencies Act 2004 (ACT) s 63):

A person commits an offence if—

(a) the person is not approved by the Minister …and

(b) the person provides emergency, ambulance, firefighting or rescue services.

In New South Wales (Health Services Act 1997 (NSW) s 67E):

(1) A person must not–

(a) directly or indirectly provide or take part in the provision of transport for sick or injured persons for fee or reward, or

(b) conduct for fee or reward any operations similar to the operations carried on by the Health Secretary under this Chapter,

without the consent of the Health Secretary and except in accordance with such conditions (if any) as the Health Secretary may from time to time impose.

These are not prohibitions on the use of the word ‘ambulance’ but having ‘ambulance’ on your vehicles could, I suppose, be used as evidence that you are committing one of these offences.

The Northern Territory and Western Australia

The Northern Territory and Western Australia have no relevant legislation.