SA makes history becoming first state in Australia to make defibrillators compulsory
South Australia today became the first state in Australia to legislate to make life-saving defibrillators compulsory in public buildings after State Parliament passed the history-making laws.
Under the new laws introduced by SA-BEST MLC, Frank Pangallo, privately owned buildings – including shopping centres, aged care and retirement villages, sporting facilities, commercial properties over 600 square metres in size, and certain residential apartment buildings – will also be required to install Automated External Defibrillators (AED).
AEDs will also be mandatory in Metropolitan Fire Service, Country Fire Service and State Emergency Service emergency vehicles.
A maximum fine of up to $20,000 would be imposed on those who fail to abide by the new laws.
“Today is a history making day with South Australia leading the nation with these Australian-first laws,” Frank said.
“Make no mistake – many many lives will be saved because of these new laws as it’s a known fact AED – or defibs as they are more commonly called – save lives,” he said.
“The statistics not only speak for themselves but also paint a very disturbing, deadly picture.
“More than 30,000 people suffer cardiac arrest in Australia each year - but only one in 10 survive according to the Council of Ambulance Authorities.
“Worse still, the survival rate for a person who suffers a cardiac arrest out of a hospital environment is only about 10%.
“It’s an indisputable fact the availability of an AED dramatically improves a person’s chance of survival to 70%.
“For every minute that defibrillation is delayed, the chance of survival decreases by 10 percent.
“It has been proven around the world that AED save lives – these nation-leading laws will ensure more lives are saved as more defibrillators will now be available throughout the community.
“I thank the State Labor Government and Health Minister, Chris Picton, for their commitment and support of this important legislation.
“They’ve recognised the need for this vital life-saving device to be in reach when urgently needed.”
A heart attack survivor himself, Frank was motivated to reintroduce the legislation – which he first introduced three years ago – after the traffic death of father of two, Andrew Rehn, 47, who died in August from a cardiac arrest while waiting more than 40 minutes for an ambulance after pulling over on Anzac Highway after suffering chest pains.
The tragedy occurred while ambulances were ramped for up to six hours at the Flinders Medical Centre and Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Under the new laws, the Minister for Health, Chris Picton, will be required to establish a register of where all the AEDs are located and at what times they are accessible to the public.
Public buildings include including schools and universities, libraries, sporting facilities, prisons, local council offices, theatres and swimming pools.
Minister Picton would also need to ensure the same information is available on a software application compatible with smartphones.
The State Government will have two years to roll out the devices in public buildings while the private sector has a three year transition period to comply.
“However, I expect many will be motivated to act sooner, as we have already seen other businesses do throughout the community,” Frank said.
Frank said with AEDs now selling from about $400 each, the cost impact on taxpayers and the private sector would be minimal – especially when balanced against the millions of dollars in taxpayers money that will be saved in the medium to long term through fewer people requiring hospitalisation and extensive rehabilitation after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Original Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, is a strong advocate of the new laws – and was in Adelaide today to be part of the historic milestone.
Greg’s own life was saved thanks to bystanders who knew CPR and the fact there was an AED nearby after he collapsed from a cardiac arrest in 2020.
“I am delighted to be part of this historic occasion as we know having a complete chain of survival - which includes AEDs - is proven to increase survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest,” said Greg, who has since founded the charity organisation, Heart of the Nation, whose mission is to raise the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest.
“I congratulate Frank for having the vision and passion to introduce these life-saving laws - and the government for supporting them,” Greg said.
“Have these new laws passed will go a long way towards helping increase the number of survivors from sudden cardiac arrest.”