Ambulance union fears mass exodus

THE state government's plan to move paramedics anywhere in the state for up to a month at a time will force people out of the profession, says Ambulance Employees Australia.

State secretary Steve McGhie said the government wants the power to "uproot paramedics from their home base to send them anywhere in the state".

"The disruption this poses for families, and the health and safety issues around extensive travel after long shifts at work, make this completely unworkable," Mr McGhie said. 

“Paramedics in metropolitan Melbourne have for years co-operated this way because distances are reasonable.

"But to impose it in rural Victoria is impractical and dangerous. 

"The clear message from our members today is that if this gets up there would be a mass exodus from the service.”

Mr McGhie's comments come after Health Minister David Davis urged paramedics to accept a revised pay offer and bring to an end the long-running ambulance industrial dispute.

The offer made includes: a $3000 sign-on payment for full-timers; a six per cent increase on base wages in 2014 and relevant allowances on approval of the Agreement by the Fair Work Commission;a further three per cent increase from July 1 2015; and another three per cent increase from July 1 2016.

Bendigo paramedic Brett Adie said he would have to find another job if the state government's plans were passed. "I could be send to Mildura, I could be sent to Sale," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Davis announced late last week that Ambulance Victoria figures showed the state government had added an additional 539 paramedics across the state since 2009-10.

“This massive increase in paramedic numbers, along with a record budget of $696.5 million for Ambulance Victoria demonstrates the Napthine Government’s commitment to a better ambulance service for all Victorians,” Mr Davis said.

"Before coming to office, in June 2010, the Coalition committed to rolling out an extra 310 paramedics and 30 patient transport officers across the state but these figures clearly show the Napthine Government has well and truly exceeded that figure."

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