WA Nationals pledge $40m for ambos
LOCAL WA Nationals MP Shane Love says he hopes his party’s proposal to spend $1 million on a new independent advocacy group for St John Ambulance volunteers will prevent a repeat of last November’s shock dismissal of Toodyay sub-centre chair Charlie Wroth.
Mr Love is pictured (right) speaking out against Mr Wroth’s sacking in State Parliament last year
The Nationals’ $40 million March 13 State Election pledge also includes plans for more regional community paramedics and funds to ensure small sub-centres get access to the latest vehicles and equipment.
Mr Love said there was currently no appropriate process which allowed WA’s 11,000 ambulance volunteers to raise grievances, such as that which led to Mr Wroth’s dismissal.Read more
“Ambulance volunteers have no one to advocate for their interests,” Mr Love said.
“Workers in paid jobs have protections and procedures but ambulance volunteers feel they cannot speak out without a risk of ramifications
“I have heard the same thing from other ambulance volunteers elsewhere – Toodyay is not an isolated case.
“St John’s ambulance volunteers are the state’s only emergency service volunteers without a representative body.”
Mr Love said regional WA St John Ambulance staff and volunteers serviced the world’s largest health jurisdiction and answered 43,000 call outs last year.
“Regional paramedics and volunteers play a vital role in keeping our communities safe and responding to emergency incidents,” Mr Love said.
“However, the workload can be onerous, and the situations they encounter can be challenging, leading to volunteer burnout.
“It’s the role of government to support this iconic organisation so that its members can continue to answer the call when needed.”
If elected, the Nationals WA plan to commit $1 million to create the state’s first volunteer association to advocate for and protect the interests of ambulance volunteers, $29 million for an additional 18 community paramedics across regional WA in areas of need and $10 million to ensure some of WA’s smallest ambulance sub-centres remain sustainable and well equipped.
“We’ve seen how effective community paramedics are, and volunteers tell us they appreciate the extra support on the ground,” Mr Love said.
“Our commitment will boost the total number of community paramedics across regional WA to 45 to ensure they can continue to provide that support.
“Giving volunteers a voice will help to create a better work environment, improve workplace relations and create a greater awareness of the role volunteers play within and outside the health sector.
“St John Ambulance plays a huge role in regional WA, and volunteers often encounter very difficult and challenging circumstances in their volunteer roles.
“This will give them much-needed support and advocacy and will also help to guide organisational and government decisions to ensure WA’s ambulance and health services remain world class.”