Martin Place Siege: information for the community

Published 6th January, 2015 in Emergency Services, Family & Community Services, Health

In light of the Martin Place siege, the NSW Government offer a number of services to those affected by the events of December 15-16, 2014.

Young male office worker receiving councelling
Young male office worker receiving councelling

Supporting our Community

Immediate medical and psychological support has been provided to those that were taken hostage.

For the broader community, many people will have found the events at Martin Place in mid December distressing.  People can react in a variety of ways to these experiences. Having distressing thoughts and feelings after such events is normal and not a sign of personal weakness.

Many people may experience sadness, sleep disturbance, fear or anxiety. It is important to understand that many competent, healthy, strong people will have similar feelings, or responses.  This reaction may be experienced immediately or sometimes much later. 

However, when these reactions persist or significantly impact on your ability to return to your usual activities it may be necessary to seek additional support.

In particular, children absorb the tension, uncertainty, confusion and fear around them following traumatic events. Try to create a sense of calm. Reassure children that they are safe and that there is someone there to take care of them.

Recovery from exposure to traumatic events is often helped by talking it over with others. People who readily use formal and informal support from family, friends, clergy or other supports generally recover better from stressful situations - prevention is better than cure.

If you experience persistent issues that interfere with your life you are encouraged to talk to your General Practitioner or health care provider.

In NSW you can contact your local mental health service via the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.

NSW Health has information for people on both the symptoms and how to access services.

School Children

While schools are closed to students over the holidays, it is important to consider the impact distressing events can have on children. The Department of Education and Communities is working closely with NSW Police and other Emergency Services personnel to ensure our schools remain among the safest places for our children in NSW.

Given the high level of media coverage and scrutiny, many children would have been exposed to information regarding the siege. Parents are encouraged to check that their children are ok and discuss with them their understanding of the event as a means of helping them process their emotions.

The Department of Education and Communities will continue to work with Multicultural NSW to review and strengthen our programs to support social cohesion. Schools will continue to promote diversity and community harmony through their activities and programs. 

Supporting our Emergency Services Personnel

It is not uncommon for people to be deeply affected by tragic events such as those experienced in Martin Place.  This can be particularly true for emergency services workers, including the NSW Police Force & NSW Ambulance paramedics, given their front line involvement.

Accordingly, our emergency services have taken the opportunity to reinforce the importance of the health and well-being of all staff via internal staff support programs.  The NSW Police Human Resources Command is working with commands that deployed staff to the siege to ensure that officers are being looked after and given appropriate support that they require.

NSW Ambulance Chaplains and Healthy Workplace staff are working to provide support to paramedics who responded to provide treatment to the hostages.

We also acknowledge that staff do not have to be directly involved in a significant or tragic matter to be affected by it.  Therefore, all emergency services staff have been encouraged to seek out the support of Peer Support Officers and Chaplains as well as through Employee Assistance Programs offered by NSW Police and NSW Ambulance, which are also available to respective family members.

The NSW Police Force and NSW Ambulance will continue to make these support services available for as long as they may be needed.

Maintaining Community Harmony and Public Safety

Multicultural NSW is working closely with community and religious leaders to promote a message of peace and solidarity. The people of NSW across all faith groups are united in their grief and sorrow at the tragic events at Martin Place. We stand together in promoting community harmony and keeping our community safe.

Multicultural NSW has facilitated a number of meetings between the Premier, the Minister for Citizenship and Communities, the NSW Police Force, community leaders and religious leaders from a range of faiths in extending this message of solidarity between the Government and communities.

The Multicultural NSW Religious Leaders Forum, led by the Minister for Citizenship and Communities, participated in a joint procession from Parliament House to the Martin Place flower memorial on 16 December 2014 and met again on 17 December 2014 to ratify a joint statement of unity.

The NSW Government does not tolerate harassment, vilification, intimidation or abuse on the basis of race or religion. Multicultural NSW is working closely with a range of NSW Government agencies to ensure a swift and coordinated response to any issues affecting community harmony in NSW.  

The Multicultural NSW Speak Out Line 1800 131 55 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week  for people to report incidents or concerns.  

NSW Police have launched Operation Hammerhead which has a focus on high visibility policing and an increased presence in public places and public transport hubs, across the Sydney Metropolitan area.  The officers involved in this Operation are patrolling iconic locations such as the Harbour and its surrounding foreshores, as well as sporting venues and large public events.

Supporting Small Business

The NSW Government is offering a range of tailored advice and services through the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner to small businesses impacted by the siege and the associated exclusion zone that was temporarily established in Martin Place.

The Small Business Commission is conducting a door knock campaign in January 2015 to identified affected businesses. The campaign will make contact with affected businesses and connect them to Small Business advice and services.

Small businesses affected by the siege are encouraged to contact their local Small Biz Connect program provider, Clearly Business, to organise a meeting and discuss the services that may be of use to them. 

These services include recovery planning, insurance options and marketing initiatives.  The Small Biz Connect Program offers face-to-face business support and can help in the following ways:

  • Identifying steps to move forward
  • Directions to relevant information and resources
  • Assistance with cash flow management
  • General small business advice

Appointments can be made by emailing or calling Clearly Business Enterprise Centre on [email protected] or 0419 206 110, or view the Small Business Commissioner website for more information.

Contact list

  • Multicultural NSW Speak Out Line1800 131 555
    To improve reporting of racism and abuse and help to protect people from race and religion-based harassment, intimidation and abuse.
  • Clearly Business Enterprise Centre 0419  206 110
    For Small business affected by the siege (Clearly Business Enterprise Centre is The Small Biz Connect provider)   
  • NSW Health 1800 011 511
    For enquiries within NSW to directly link you with local Mental Health Services.
  • Lifeline13 11 14
    Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to online, phone and face-to-face crisis support services.
  • MensLine Australia1300 789 978
    Telephone and online support and information service for Australian men.
  • Kids Helpline1800 551 800
    Private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25.
  • Beyondblue1300 224 636
    Confidential telephone and online support from trained mental health professionals.
  • Australian Red Cross02 9229 4111
    To help people better prepare, respond to and recover from emergencies.
  • National Security Hotline1800 123 400
    The National Security Hotline is the single point of contact for the public to report possible signs of terrorism. It also provides information to callers on a wide range of national security matters.     
  • Crime Stoppers1800 333 000
    Crime Stoppers is a community based program which encourages the public to share information and which may help Police solve a crime.
Published 6th January, 2015 in Emergency Services, Family & Community Services, Health