Handwritten messages calling for more physical and human resources appear on an ambulance stationed at Millicent. Such messages are evident on other SA Ambulance Service vehicles across the state and are linked to industrial action by the Ambulance Employees Association.
Millicent paramedics have been approached for comment by The SE Voice but have declined. However, association state secretary Phil Palmer has claimed his members face heavy workloads in the South East, Whyalla, Riverland and Port Augusta. The union staged a protest rally in Adelaide earlier this month.
Shadow Health Minister Chris Picton agrees regional paramedics are under pressure. In response, Treasurer Rob Lucas was willing to provide an additional 50 paramedics but the association needed to compromise on some matters.
“The only way to resolve any kind of dispute is for both parties to compromise and the State Government is, once again, calling on the union to compromise for the benefit of hard-working paramedics and all South Australians who rely on them,” Mr Lucas said.
“We have made it quite clear we’re willing to compromise – we have put at least an extra 50 ambulance officers on the table conditional upon sensible roster and meal break reforms and the cessation of industrial action. “We have also promised to invest in even more ambulance officers once all enterprise bargaining negotiations with the union have been finalised.
“No amount of industrial action will actually help resolve these issues. “Ultimately, in the same way that long-running industrial disputes with the teachers’ and nurses’ unions were resolved sensibly by both parties sitting down and reaching a compromise, we hope the AEA will also compromise to help resolve this dispute.”
Staffing of the Millicent ambulance station was increased a few years ago to provide around-the-clock coverage.