Nsw Government robs Central West of ambulance staff to help Coalition win seat of Wagga Wagga




13 February 2019

The Australian Paramedics Association (NSW) is concerned that the NSW Government is withdrawing paramedics from ambulance stations across the Central West and transferring them to Wagga Wagga because they want to win back a Parliamentary seat lost in a by-election.

APA (NSW) Secretary Steve Pearce said the Union welcomed the much needed 12 extra paramedics in Wagga Wagga, which will put an extra ambulance on the road in the afternoon and evenings.

“It usually takes between six and twelve weeks to effect transfers between ambulance stations but we are concerned about the impact of NSW Ambulance rushing these transfers to suit the politicial objectives of the Berejiklian Government,” Mr Pearce said.

APA Central West representative Scott Beaton said NSW Ambulance had fast-tracked transfers which were being processed in just 14 days in order to curry favour with voters in Wagga Wagga.

Seven paramedics were being transferred next week to Wagga Wagga from stations at Ardlethan, Narrandera, Junee, Gilgandra, Temora and Haberfield. Others being recruited are new trainees being given their first jobs as paramedics.

“This will leave my station at Gilgandra short one paramedic and we have no idea when a replacement will be available. Every station which is losing a paramedic to Wagga will be left short staffed as well,” Mr Beaton said.

“This will mean shifts having to be filled by existing staff on overtime. But what Premier Berejiklian and Heath Minister Brad Hazzard don’t understand is that paramedics in the Central West are so overworked and so tired that they don’t want to do overtime.”

APA (NSW) Secretary Steve Pearce said 700 promised new paramedics over four years would not arrive quickly enough to help with the ever-increasing workload.

“We need 700 extra paramedics now,” Mr Pearce said.

“NSW Ambulance’s response times are among the worst in Australia and robbing one area to help win an election in another is an outrageous way to treat paramedics and the community.”

“How can the Coalition Government expect to be taken seriously when it puts lives at risk in those towns which are losing a paramedic to Wagga Wagga.”

“We have no doubt that this blatant political act by the Berejiklian Government will put lives at risk and we put the Government on notice that we won’t be silent if this decision leads to an adverse impact on a patient in one of the affected towns.”

/Public Release.