19 Oct 2023

Defibrillators would be mandatory in public buildings and modes of public transport by 2026 along with a mandatory register of all defibs in NSW if a Private Members Bill proposed by Member for Kiama Gareth Ward passes Parliament.

Mr Ward gave notice of the Automated External Defibrillators (Public Access) Bill 2023 in the House today with this proposal mirroring laws passed by the South Australian Parliament.

"Each year, approximately 3800 people in New South Wales experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, and sadly around 90% are unable to be revived. Studies have shown that the combination of CPR and defibrillation can increase survival rates by up to 70%.

"My bill will make defibrillators mandatory in public buildings such as schools, libraries, and sporting facilities along with all modes of public transport. The bill will also require defibrillators to be tested every twelve months and require signage highlighting the presence of a defibrillator or its presence on a vehicle.

"My bill will require Service NSW to establish a mandatory register which can be accessed in real-time of the location of defibrillators, whether they can be accessed 24/7 and when the device was last tested.

"My bill will require the responsible Minister to inform the public about defibrillators and develop a training scheme for the use of defibrillators for certain persons.

"This bill will save lives. The South Australian Government should be commended for this initiative and I believe we should adopt this approach in NSW as well," Mr Ward said.

Gerringong resident, Mr David Toohey can personally attest to how a defibrillator housed at the Jamberoo Bowling Club saved his life.

"As I was driving, I wasn't feeling well, looking for a place to park - next thing I know I woke up in an ambulance," Mr Toohey said. 

"Fortunately, the right tools and people were there. 

"I was very fortunate an AEC was 20m away from where I crashed my car, and the bloke that came to my aid happened to be a former ambulance officer. 

"The defib kick started me and they continued CPR for another 20 mins till an ambulance arrived.  

"This led me to look into the situation and I am very passionate about this case," Mr Toohey concluded. 

Other countries such as Canada, the US, South Korea, and 15 European countries already have these mandatory registers.