Photo caption: Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, left, Inverell NSW Ambulance registered paramedic Clint McSpedden and Inverell Shire Mayor Paul Harmon in State Parliament last week for a debate calling on the government to provide professional recognition and a fairer pay deal for paramedics.
Monday, 27 November 2023
Marshall calls for a better deal for paramedics in debate
MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has given local NSW Ambulance Paramedics his strongest backing yet, taking to the floor of State Parliament last week, during a petition debate, to call for professional recognition and a fairer pay deal as a matter of priority.
Speaking in the debate, prompted by the tabling of a 10,000 signature petition by Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich, Mr Marshall said the professional recognition of paramedics was a very important topic and was particularly acute in rural, regional and remote areas.
“Our paramedics are incredibly hardworking and dedicated medical professionals and in most of the communities that I represent in the Northern Tablelands, they are the most experienced and the highest-qualified medical professionals we have,” Mr Marshall told Parliament.
“We do not have the presence of general practitioners like we used to nor, unfortunately, as many of our amazing hardworking frontline nursing staff, but our paramedics are the bulwark upon which the health system in the bush is based.
“Professional recognition and fairer pay is long overdue and something that should have been done years ago, but it’s bitterly disappointing that the government, despite promising to before the March election to do so, has not delivered on either – instead offering just platitudes and thanks.”
Mr Marshall said he was honoured to accompany Inverell based paramedics on a ride recently, seeing firsthand the challenges they face in their everyday work.
“When there is a car crash, when there is an accident on a rural property, when there is an incident in the middle of a town – paramedics are always there to save lives.
“I have seen hospital staff ask the paramedics to come into the hospital and help because they have more expertise than the locum who is on duty on that day.
“But despite their skills and expertise, they are not remunerated accordingly and in our region we are losing paramedics to Queensland.
“It’s just not right that a NSW Ambulance Paramedic can finish work here on Friday, start working in Queensland on Monday, doing the exact same job, with a $20,000 pay increase.
“No matter how many new paramedics any government commits to recruiting, until this is pay gap issue is fixed, we’re going to continue to lose just as many as we can recruit.
“Professional recognition is not just about valuing what we have; it is about stemming the haemorrhaging – the loss – of staff interstate.
“The government must act now.”