New England Australian Paramedics Association delegates in dispute with NSW Ambulance over Working With Children Check costs

TALKS: Australian Paramedics Association delegate Dan McPhee says paramedics should not have to pay for their own working with children checks. Photo: Laurie Bullock
TALKS: Australian Paramedics Association delegate Dan McPhee says paramedics should not have to pay for their own working with children checks. Photo: Laurie Bullock

LESS ambulances could be on the road in the region next month unless a stoush between paramedics and their bosses is resolved.

Australian Paramedics Association officials said the move was a "cash grab", and claimed they’ve been “harassed” by management to pay up.

New England delegate Dan McPhee said last week, in protest, paramedics did not obtain the billing details of their patients for a number of days, effectively giving them "free rides." As a result, there’ll be a meeting between ambulance officials and the union on March 19.

"That (action) cost the government more money in revenue loss than if they would have absorbed the cost of the fee as they have done for NSW Fire and Rescue,” he said.

He said paramedics were not opposed to the checks but believed they should not have to pay for them like other emergency agencies.

"We support working with children checks and support every paramedic having one to keep every patient safe," he said.

"But we won't pay for it it's a cash grab and it's really upsetting people by suggesting it's about child safety, when it's just cutting back wages.

"On the 31st of March, I'll be doing my job but on the 1st of April I can't do it if I don't pay $80. We don't know how many vehicles are going to be on the road in New England on April 1."

An Ambulance NSW spokesperson said they had advised staff of the changes in June last year.

"The $80 fee is the cost of a check which remains valid for five years, this amounts to $16 a year or four cents per day and is tax deductible,” the spokesperson said.

"NSW Ambulance can confirm that more than half the workforce has already provided their Working With Children Check details.”

This story Ambos forced to pay up for child checks | Poll first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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