The Marshall Liberal Government has succeeded temporarily in its attempts to gag ambos from writing public safety messages on ambulances.
The Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF) issued a dispute notification with the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) on the 24th February seeking that Ambos cease and desist from chalking public safety messages on ambulances, stop wearing union T-Shirts and resume billing patients for ambulance call outs.
Yesterday the AEA and DTF attended a Hearing at the SAET which issued Interim orders, in favour of what this Government was seeking, directing Ambos to cease chalking ambulances, cease wearing union t-shirts and to resume billing patients.
“Our Ambos are utterly devastated at this outcome which was sought by the State Liberal Government. Instead of listening and committing to resolving the chronic ambulance understaffing and ensuring the SA Community is safe, the Marshall Liberal Government has chosen to put all its efforts into silencing our hardworking ambos. It was revealed yesterday that the Marshall Gov have spent over $100,000 so far in taxpayer funds on commercial cleaners to wipe off Ambos messages. Given the timing of this; it is clear that the Government is only interested in the politics and not the safety of its Ambos and the Community they serve” said Leah Watkins, Secretary Ambulance Employees Association.
Adelaide has the worst Ambulance response times of all Australian Capital Cities and across South Australia Ambulance response times are the 2nd worse in the country. In January 2022 Ambulance response times plummeted to just 32%, the KPI is for an ambulance to arrive in 16 minutes 90% of the time. Ambulance response times have deteriorated year on year under the Marshall Liberal Government (2018-19 82%, 2019-20 80%, 2020-21 68%).
“These are not just statistics on a piece of paper these are real South Australian’s waiting longer and longer in their time of need for an ambulance, sometimes it is simply too late. This is why our Ambos chalk public safety messages on their ambulances. They simply do not have all the resources they need to save lives and reduce suffering. These messages are a cry for help and this State Liberal Government has ignored their calls. Ambos have therefore had no other option than to alert the public to this dangerous situation”.
“Sadly, patients have died while waiting for an ambulance which should have arrived earlier. Today is a stark reminder of these tragic circumstances, at 10am the SA Coroners Court resumes its Inquest into the death of patients Ms Virginia Anne Weekes who died after waiting over an hour for an ambulance in Croydon April 2020 and Mr. Craig Malcolm Files who died after waiting over 2 hours for an ambulance in Norwood January 2019. We believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are likely to be many more similar cases”.
“Instead of committing to supporting SA Ambos and resolving the issues continuing to face Ambos and South Australians’, the Marshall Liberal Government has announced just 51 Paramedics which would only form 3 crews for Metropolitan Adelaide – and none for our regional communities including Mt. Barker which has only 1 ambulance for a population of nearly 40,000 people. These miserly offerings from the Government are just a drop in the ocean of what is actually needed” said Watkins
Ambos developed a detailed proposal provided to all major political parties in October last year calling for over 350 additional Paramedics, Ambulance Officers and Communication Personnel across South Australia. “This is what Ambos have asked of all political parties in seeking a commitment to what is needed to ensure the safety of South Australians. Sadly, the Marshall Liberal Government have refused to commit their support to SA Ambos and their actions now to silence Ambos is a disgrace”.
“South Australian Labor, The Greens, SA Best and many Independents from across South Australia have committed their support to SA Ambos – why is the Marshall Liberal Government refusing to commit to this support? Why are they instead silencing ambos?”
“Ambos will not be silenced and will continue to highlight just how critical the situation, facing South Australian’s, is by chalking their own cars and are calling South Australians to stand in solidarity with them by chalking their own car”, said Watkins.
Ambos will be holding an all-day event tomorrow at the Ambulance Employees Association offering to chalk SA community member’s cars with messages of support for our Ambos.
The AEA will be hosting a media conference at the AEA Offices 13 Hindmarsh Place, Hindmarsh at 12pm Friday 4th March 2022
AUTHORISED BY LEAH WATKINS, SECRETARY
0400 491 387
Intern Orders Attached Below