Government to hire extra 74 ambulance officers after union agrees to recommend deal to members

South Australians seeking urgent medical attention, and SA’s hardworking ambulance officers and paramedics, will be further supported with the State Government employing an extra 74 full-time equivalent ambos as part of the resolution to the current long-running industrial dispute with the Ambulance Employees Association (AEA).

In what would be the end to the current dispute, the union has finally agreed to the Government’s requirement for comprehensive roster reform, which they will now recommend to their members for approval.

The union has also agreed to cease all industrial action.

Treasurer Rob Lucas said the extra 74 FTE ambos are in addition to the extra 187 full-time equivalent staff employed in the first two years of the Marshall Government (July 2018 to June 2020 according to the independent Auditor-General).

Of these 74 additional FTE, up to 24 will be allocated to country stations – including Port Augusta, Whyalla and Ceduna – to bolster their workforce and further improve services in our regions.

Even more ambulance officers will be employed upon the finalisation of all enterprise bargaining negotiations.

Mr Lucas welcomed the significant progress made in the SA Employment Tribunal, with the union committing to recommend to their members an offer including significant roster reform, meal break reforms and the end of all industrial action.

“We recognise the enormous contribution our hardworking ambos make in our community and this offer will help ensure they can deliver the best possible service to South Australians while reducing fatigue and improving work-life balance,” Mr Lucas said.

“The Government has always maintained its commitment to compromise, offering more ambulance officers and paramedics conditional upon the union committing to important roster and meal break reforms and the end of industrial action – which they will now recommend to their members.

“We know that more staff alone is not going to deliver the safest and highest quality ambulance service and help solve the issue of ramping, which is why we need these sensible industrial reforms in addition to the significant investment we are making in our emergency departments.

“Roster reform is critical because it will help reduce the number of long, tiring 12-hour shifts with a greater number of shorter 8-hour, 10-hour and the introduction of 10.5 hour shifts and staggering start and finish times.

“The union has agreed to the new roster reform models being completed by 30 June, 2021.

“Whilst the union has committed to recommending meal break reform to members, the details of any reform need to be negotiated. The government still wants to end the policy of ambos taking time driving up to 35km past 3 or 4 stations to return to a home station to take a meal break, instead of taking a break at the nearest station.

“SA Ambulance Service data shows nearly a quarter of ambulance crews are travelling greater than 45 minutes to get to their home station for a meal break.”

SA Ambulance Service has advised the recruitment process of the extra ambulance officers and paramedics will begin immediately once the deal has been approved.

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