New England paramedics threaten industrial action in Ambulance NSW maintenance dispute

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NEW England paramedics have all but confirmed they will take industrial action, as the dispute over a station maintenance report escalates.

The region’s Australian Paramedics Association (APA) representatives are locked in a stalemate with NSW Ambulance officials over access to a report from a third-party audit detailing their station maintenance problems.

The union claims Ambulance NSW has now asked paramedics themselves to conduct an audit of problems in their stations. However, in a statement issued to The Leader NSW Ambulance dismissed the claim.

“NSW Ambulance refutes any claims by the union that paramedics have been instructed to audit their own stations,” a spokesperson said.

“Paramedics were asked to bring any outstanding matters to the attention of management and any repairs that are required will be progressed in a timely manner.”

On Thursday, union leaders confirmed the issue was “now likely to result in industrial action” after officials sent a letter to Ambulance NSW CEO Dominic Morgan.

APA secretary Steve Pearce said the issue was having a “negative impact on morale among paramedics” while New England-based APA committee executive Dan McPhee confirmed tensions were mounting.

“There is a lot of frustration, it is not just the neglect and situation of the stations,” he said. “They’re pretty atrocious and everyone knows it’s going to take time to fix – they just want some sort of commitment to do it. The reason why morale is so low is because of the cynicism.

“We jut got an email saying they’re doing an audit and research project and to get everyone to assess the buildings .. they’re paramedics and they’re asking them to assess their own buildings. They’re sitting on a professional engineering report and cynically refusing to release it.” 

The Ambulance spokesperson said $100 million had been allocated to build and refurbish facilities statewide and the organisation recently received building condition reports commissioned as a “10-year internal forward planning tool for the prioritisation of work and allocation of funding”.

“These internal reports will be used in informing future confidential tendering processes,” the spokesperson said. “NSW Ambulance continues to consult with the union on a regular basis.”

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