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Paramedics union seeks meeting with Daryl

Daryl Maguire

The Australian Paramedics Association has approached Member for Wagga Daryl Maguire to discuss understaffing issues in the Riverina.

This follows a media campaign centred around country towns being left without services as their active paramedics are called to Wagga, and also a push for better communications equipment.

However, Mr Maguire said the union never approached him to discuss the issue, and instead went straight to the media.

“The union has now written seeking a meeting in a letter dated April 12 – they didn’t even bother talking to their MPs about the issue,” he said.

“I’m disappointed they continue to run to the media without discussion or making any attempt whatsoever to meet with local members prior to their outbursts – their membership I am sure would share my disappointment in their actions.”

Mr Maguire said the NSW government had already committed to improving staffing across the state.

“The NSW Ambulance budget for 2016-17 is $811 million, an increase of $53 million, or 7.1 per cent,” he said.

“In May 2016, the NSW Government announced the fast-tracking of $5.1 million in funding originally planned to be distributed over four years. The funding will allow for recruitment to commence immediately for an additional 27 extended care paramedics and intensive care paramedics.

“In June 2016, the NSW Government announced funding for an additional 85 frontline staff for NSW Ambulance during 2016-17.”

The APA has previously acknowledged that funding as “fantastic,” but said that there was no guarantee the Riverina would be receiving any new paramedics.

APA Zone liaison Darren Rudd said he wouldn’t say under-staffing was an issue, if it wasn’t.

“We wouldn’t do this job if we didn’t care about the community,” Mr Rudd said. “The most trusted profession don’t like being called liars.”