Background and objective of the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management Disability Action Plan

Accessible Island is Tasmania’s third Disability Framework for Action and has a four- year coverage from 2018 to 2021. The Framework is a whole-of-government approach to policy and planning, service delivery and evaluation that seeks to remove barriers and enable people with disability to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as other Tasmanians.

As with each government agency, DPFEM has prepared a Disability Action Plan 2018-2021 that documents the way in which the commitments specified in Accessible Island will be met, under the six identified outcome areas of:

  • Inclusive and accessible communities
  • Rights protection, justice and legislation
  • Economic security
  • Personal and community support
  • Learning and skills
  • Health and wellbeing

This document is DPFEM’s third Action Plan, with the first released in 2008 and the second in 2014. In developing this Action Plan, DPFEM has considered previous actions and strategies, as well as feedback provided by the Premier’s Disability Advisory Council (PDAC), particularly from the PDAC 2017 Report on Agency Implementation of the Disability Framework for Action.

The objective of this Action Plan is twofold. Firstly to improve the relationship  DPFEM has with those with disability in the Tasmanian community; and secondly, to improve the internal relationships within DPFEM experienced by employees or potential employees of the Department.

This Action Plan supports these objectives by having a range of actions targeted at improving interaction with the community through accessibility to services,  information and infrastructure. Additionally, there are a number of actions which target internal processes and policies so that DPFEM can better support an inclusive and diverse workforce.

The ownership of this Action Plan sits with Strategy and Support, Business and Executive Services, DPFEM. This area will be responsible for providing annual reporting against the Action Plan to the Department of Premier and Cabinet and to PDAC members. As the Action Plan is considered a living document, open to review and improvement, it is expected that actions may be revised and added to as progress is made and as new barriers are identified.

Organisational context

DPFEM is a diverse agency. It includes Tasmania Police, Tasmania Fire Service (TFS), Forensic Science Service Tasmania and State Emergency Service (SES), with corporate support provided by Business and Executive Services. The full-time equivalent workforce comprises of approximately 525 State Service Employees, 1,265 Police Officers (including trainees) and 322 Firefighters. Additionally, there are 217 fire brigades and 34 SES units, with approximately 4,685 volunteers providing support to TFS and SES.

DPFEM is a proud employer of a diverse range of people and is committed to ensuring that recruitment practices reflect the diverse Tasmanian community. This commitment is reflected by actions to educate managers and selection panel members on inclusive recruitment and selection practices; and to assess workstations and refer reasonable adjustment requests to specialist consultants. Also underway is the development of the Wellness Program. This program aims to positively support the mental and physical health and wellbeing of the workforce.

The Department’s activities are based on four key service delivery areas: Public Safety, Crime, Traffic Policing and Emergency Management. As an all-hazards emergency management agency, a significant component of core business is in preparing Tasmania to be safe, secure and resilient, and responding to emergencies. This involves developing and maintaining partnerships with the community through councils, schools, other government agencies and non- government organisations.

Equity and diversity is incorporated into a number of training programs, and will be reviewed with a view to rolling training out across DPFEM.  Work is also being undertaken to ensure that Police Investigators and Regional Fire Investigators are trained in ‘interviewing vulnerable witnesses’.

DPFEM has an Equity and Diversity Coordinator who sits within People and Culture. The Coordinator is a point of contact for employees seeking access to information and resources in regard to discrimination matters.

Key Outcome Areas

This Action Plan covers the following National Disability Strategy 2010-2020 (NDS) outcome areas:

  • Inclusive and accessible communities
  • Rights protection, justice and legislation
  • Economic security
  • Personal and community support
  • Learning and skills
  • Health and wellbeing


Within the agency

DPFEM has sought to find actions in each of the NDS outcome areas, and this has meant consultation across the Department to ensure all challenges and work towards progress can be captured.

Developing this document included significant consultation with the Equity and Diversity Coordinator, People and Culture, Tasmania Fire Service, Education and Training, Media and Communications, and Property and Procurement.

These consultations have involved negotiation to find suitable and achievable actions and to highlight gaps where the Department can improve.

With people with disability

The development of this Action Plan has included consideration of feedback on previous plans, including from PDAC.

As part of this Action Plan, DPFEM will review the operation of the Disability Working Group, including consideration of the most effective mechanism for consulting with people with disability over the life of the Action Plan.

Monitoring and Reporting

Strategy and Support, within Business and Executive Services, will be responsible for monitoring progress against the Action Plan.

Annual updates of progress will be provided to the Secretary, DPFEM in conjunction with the reporting that will be provided to the Department of Premier and Cabinet and PDAC.


Strategy and Support will evaluate the plan on an ongoing basis. This will allow for progress to be tracked and monitored and will ensure that actions remain current and address contemporary challenges to the Department.

In 2021, when the Action Plan 2018-2021 concludes, DPFEM will review the outcomes against Accessible Island.