MEMBER for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan has thrown her support behind Bendigo's maternal and child health nurses fight for improved pay and workloads.
"I'm a user of the maternal and child health services and I've really come to appreciate the great value of the service that it provides for new mums," Ms Allan said during the nurses' stop work action on Tuesday.
"I was probably someone who drew down on the service a bit more than most.
"When I got my little my little girl home a couple of years ago, she'd had an extended stay in hospital and we came home with a few little extra challenges.
"I was just totally blessed with the maternal health nurse."
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation's Victorian branch and the City of Greater Bendigo have reached a stalemate in negotiations for a new workplace agreement.
Nurses want wage parity with colleagues employed in nearby rural areas such as Loddon and Buloke shires.
About 20 union members participated in a stop work event in Bendigo's CBD at noon on Tuesday, dressed in red shirts and holding placards.
Ms Allan attended the event and addressed the crowd.
She said being a new mum could be a tough time.
"You have heaps of questions, lots of different questions, and the maternal and child health nurse is a very calm ship in what can be a very unsteady ocean at times," she said.
"The advice and the support they provide to the baby, the child, and to the family just can not be underestimated.
"That's why I was pleased to accept the invitation today and show my support for the issues that are being raised by the ANMF on behalf of the workforce.
"Maternal health nurses are such valuable resource for our community and I should also acknowledge that they provide an important link in the whole early childhood service spectrum.
"Maternal and child health nurses are often the first ones who will pick up if there's some issues that need to be addressed by other agencies.
"They provide a referral service and they provide an important link to other services for families.
"Without that service some families might fall through the cracks and young babies and children might not get the support they need to go and grown and flourish as young children.
"It's not just looking after cute little babies, there's a lot of work that maternal and health nurses do and I personally thank them enormously for that work."
City of Greater Bendigo chief executive Craig Niemann told the Bendigo Advertiser on Monday management would soon ask staff to vote on a formal agreement.
"The nurses are highly valued by the organisation and the community and their remuneration packages are in line with those provided by other similar local governments in Victoria such as Ballarat, Geelong and Latrobe," he said.
"While management has been able to reach an agreed position on almost all of the matters raised by the nurses, there are a couple of areas where agreement has not been possible.
"As a result, some nurses have voted to impose work bans, which are protected under the Fair Work Act.
"The city is working to minimise the impact of these bans on the community."