NSW Government playing with lives over paramedic professional claim

  • Published December 18, 2023

Before the NSW election last year, Labor leader Chris Minns made a commitment to HSU paramedics: to honour the work of the Paramedic Taskforce established with government and move forward with the process of professional recognition. Minns even made two HSU paramedics the centrepiece of his maiden speech as leader in Parliament.

Since winning the top job, however, it’s been a very different story.

The Government has consistently blocked and lowballed HSU members, claiming they can’t find the money to pay paramedics what they’re worth. They’ve taken every opportunity to applaud the vital work that paramedics do – but when it comes to recognition of their lifesaving professional skills, they’ve suddenly misplaced their chequebook.

NSW paramedics remain the lowest paid and most injured in the country. The effect is already being felt, with skilled paramedics leaving NSW in droves for other states where they’re more valued.

In response, over 2000 HSU paramedics have now made a pledge not to renew their registration with AHPRA – meaning they won’t be able to work as paramedics come New Year.

“They’re not being paid as professionals,” said Secretary Gerard Hayes. “So why would they register as professionals?”

“If we don’t get a pay rise that brings us in line with Queensland this boycott will be the least of the government’s problems … We are trying desperately to prevent the collapse of the paramedic workforce in NSW,” he said.

“The paramedics in every regional and metropolitan station do not want to leave but they can’t afford to stay.”

HSU delegates are committed to the negotiation process in order to get the outcome that paramedics need – even if it comes down to the wire. 48,000 HSU members stand united behind them.

HSU Junior Vice President and paramedic Tess Oxley makes it very clear.

“I know what I’m worth, and they know what I’m worth, and they’re refusing to pay me.”