Gold Coast woman wins award recognising her fight for justice for Qld paramedics
7th Feb 2020
A Gold Coast woman who advocated to obtain better support for Queensland paramedics with mental health issues has today been presented with the Australian Lawyers Alliance’s (ALA) Queensland Civil Justice Award (CJA).
The annual ALA Civil Justice Award recognises individuals or organisations who have displayed outstanding commitment to the pursuit of justice.
“Efthimia Voulcaris has changed lives because she spoke up and raised concerns that others would not acknowledge,” said ALA State President, Mr Greg Spinda. “Efthimia worked tirelessly to ensure that Queensland paramedics with mental health issues are treated reasonably, compassionately and in a way that enables them to get the support they need to continue their careers.”
Efthimia is a partner at Devaney Investigations and is an independent workplace and corruption investigator. She is also admitted as a lawyer in Queensland. In the course of her work advising the Australian Paramedics Association, Efthimia identified an alarmingly high rate of mental health conditions among paramedics and a working environment that did not provide adequate support.
“Efthimia went ‘above and beyond’ to raise awareness of this important civil justice issue,” said Mr Spinda. “She made the decision to speak out for those paramedics who were either too fearful or too unwell to do so. She placed more importance on attempting to improve the lives of paramedics in Queensland than on the advancement of her own career.
“Efthimia’s work has contributed to acknowledgement that paramedics do suffer mental health conditions at a higher rate than the general public and that they need specialist support, compassion and rehabilitation.
“Changes have been made to the way in which the Queensland Ambulance Service supports and communicates with its employees who experience mental health conditions, and this has made a significant difference to these individuals and their families.
“Without Efthimia’s dedicated advocacy, mental health issues experienced by some paramedics in Queensland may never have come to light. She is a very deserving winner of our 2020 Civil Justice Award.”
Ms Voulcaris received her award today at the ALA Queensland Conference on the Gold Coast.
“Paramedics perform a selfless service for the community,” said Ms Voulcaris. “It was important to me that I was there for them by raising concerns and awareness about their welfare in the hope of making a difference.”