AFTER working as a Bendigo paramedic for more than 14 years, Brett Adie decided enough was enough.
His story is among many others echoed throughout the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission's report into workplace equality in Ambulance Victoria.
In a first-volume report which was released on Tuesday, more than half of 2163 respondents in the survey were found to have been bullied, while 47 per cent were discriminated against.
In the commission's report, excerpts of interviews from participants spotlighted key areas of concern.
The report showed some workers had become so distressed by the unlawful treatment at work, that they had attempted suicide.
Holding the role as secretary of the Ambulance Employees Australia Victoria union, Mr Adie now wants to amplify the voices of his fellow colleagues.
Mr Adie said it wasn't until he accepted a managing role at Ambulance Victoria until he really saw the cracks within the organisation.
"When I was working on the road I wasn't seeing this stuff but as soon I got myself into a managing position, that's when I saw these issues first hand," he said.
"I spoke up one time around some safety issues... shortly after that, I was told that I wasn't appropriate for a promotional opportunity because I spoke out.
"That was the nail in the coffin for me."
Mr Adie said he was witness to complaints not being taken seriously in Bendigo.
"At the Bendigo branch a couple of years ago, there was a complaint that was made and it wasn't acted on for a couple of months," he said.
"As a result of that, three more people then became the complainants and it becomes a bigger issue.
"Because it wasn't addressed there were now four people that were impacted."
From the 2163 people who responded to the Commission's survey, it was found that 47.2 per cent of survey respondents reported experiencing discrimination and 7.4 per cent reported experiencing sexual harassment.
Of the participants surveyed, 42.2 per cent were based at a regional location.
Mr Adie said there were many problems in regional and rural branches.
There needs to be significant changes, this can't just be another report that gets pushed to the side...actions needs to be immediate.AEAV secretary Brett Adie
He said a large problem was that some paramedics use regional postings as a stepping stone to metropolitan areas.
Mr Adie said there was no care factor for regional communities.
"There is a disconnect between the regional areas and Melbourne," he said.
"The regional areas are given more power to manage issues in their own areas. They don't actually want to report to Melbourne that they have significant issues in their area.
"Those people who report back to Melbourne, in a lot of cases are looking at promotional opportunities at some stage down the track.
"So they try and cover some things up in house and regions can get away this because they don't know about it, no one shares the information with each other."
Ambulance Victoria accepted all 24 of the commission's recommendations related to improving how the organisation seeks to prevent and respond to discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation.
Ambulance Victoria chief executive Tony Walker said the stories shared with the commission and their experiences of discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying and victimisation were deeply confronting.
"I have heard you, I believe you and things will change, they must change," he said.
"This behaviour isn't just harmful, it's unlawful.
"Our immediate focus is to ensure the safety and support for our people. We wills strength ours stems to help change their experiences."
Professor Walker said the behaviours described in the report fell short of what the community expected of Ambulance Victoria.
"The actions that have been described so openly and honestly in this report will not be tolerated, no matter what the perpetrator's level of clinical or corporate experience," he said.
"There is no place at Ambulance Victoria for people who engage in such harmful or unlawful conduct, or for those who seek to protect it."
Mr Adie said he wasn't hopeful change would come following the report.
"There needs to be significant changes, this can't just be another report that gets pushed to the side. We can't still be sitting in committees and meetings for the next three months, or six months down the track.
"Actions needs to be immediate."
Mr Adie hoped senior management would be held accountable following the release of the report.
"The people that have suffered by the hands of this for years need to see some people held to account for the fact they have allowed this culture to exist," he said.
Sorry just won't cut it. It's not good enough for all of the people who have had their career's destroyed.AEAV secretary Brett Adie
"This is well-known, there has been indicators, email trails that has showed they know what's going on.
"There needs to be a statement made that this isn't just another report, this is one that they will act on and why they have allowed this culture to exist, people need to be held accountable.
"I have no doubt there will terminations at the lower level but we won't see the terminations and accountability at the higher level."
For Mr Adie, transparency is needed through-out the organisation.
"People get to a point of thinking what's the point of actually complaining, because you think no one is going to do anything about it and especially if it's to do with some part of that boys club culture. You are almost a protective species.
"It's a boys club environment, where they just look after their own backs."
For Ambulance Victoria to move forward past these allegations, Mr Adie said "significant change "was needed.
"Sorry just won't cut it," he said.
"It's not good enough for all of the people who have had their career's destroyed and the amount of people that left the organisation just because they can't deal with this anymore is a really sad indictment on those at the highest levels that allowed this to happen."
The final report by the VEOHRC is due in March 2022.
Ambulance Victoria wouldn't provide any further comment.
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