Tasmania faces significantly higher health and wellbeing risks to its workforce compared to mainland states, yet we have insufficient resources to guide workplaces, care for injured workers and manage risks, according to the Tasmanian Foundation for Occupational Medicine (TFOM) in Tasmania.

In addition to the crisis affecting the general practitioner workforce, the Government Regulator WorkSafe Tasmania, also has insufficient resources and expertise, while in the private sector the resources are also depleted.

Tasmania is at risk of being largely reliant on interstate services for some important services.

Dr Peter Sharman, TFOM President addressed these concerns today, adding “we do not have an adequately resourced health and wellbeing strategy for Tasmania’s workforce when healthy and productive workers are vital to our state’s economic success.

“15 years ago, Tasmania had five or six occupational health specialists (and a viable number of GPs interested in occupational medicine) in a mix of public and private sector roles, but today there only two.

“While our resources are depleted, the level of risk is greater compared to the mainland states due to our ageing workforce, increasing rates of mental ill-health and higher levels of chronic disease.”

According to Safework Australia, Tasmania already has the highest workers compensation premium rate of any Australian jurisdiction (1.75% of payroll), the highest rate of serious injury for Health Care Workers, and amongst the highest workers compensation premiums for government (Public Administration) employees.

Further, our private and public sector workforces face significant occupational health challenges over the next decade from a range of degenerative, lifestyle, mental health, and communicable diseases.

Re-emerging conditions like silicosis in the Stone Benchtop industry are causing suffering and hardship for workers in the prime of their lives.

There is increasing difficulty in providing health services, particularly in rural and remote locations, areas such as Tasmania’s west coast with its economically important Mining and Tourism industries need targeted help.

“It’s not just rural and remote regions of Tasmania, but our state service is under pressure with escalating working compensation costs, staff retention and recruitment difficulties. With the demands on service provision from increasing community needs and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have amplified these factors.

Ensuring the physical health and wellbeing of our front-line workers in police, healthcare, teaching, ambulance, and emergency services is especially important during these challenging times.

TFOM’s election priorities for Tasmania:

  1. To urgently establish a state health and wellbeing strategy unit within a leading government agency, such as State Growth or Premier and Cabinet, to lead an ‘all of government’ approach to the workforce’s physical and mental health issues facing Tasmania. This includes initiatives to improve occupational health management in government agencies.


  1. To prepare a business case for establishing a combined emergency, primary care and occupational medicine service and training facility in the Western Region of Tasmania. Such an initiative would support government strategies concerning the critical shortage of GPs while offering an innovative solution to servicing the healthcare needs of the west coast region of Tasmania.


  1. To provide expert guidance to government, business, and industry, establishing an Occupational Health Surveillance Unit at the Royal Hobart Hospital is essential to ensure adequate expertise in monitoring workers exposed to occupational disease risk, including silicosis and related occupational lung disease.


  1. To provide necessary funding and resources to retain and enhance capacity for a suitably trained occupational health workforce, including Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) experts, supported by a group of GPs with additional training in the management of work-related injury.>>>>ENDS.


* TFOM is the peak body of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Specialists in Tasmania.

Media Contacts

General Enquiries – Dr Peter Sharman – 0419 881 519

West Coast Region Initiatives – Dr Barry Gilbert – 0418 557 381


Copies of TFOM’s Position Statement and Supporting Rationale are available by emailing