NSWNA nurse face of ‘Better Services’ campaign

Public sector workers are coming together with local communities to fight for the resources and support they need.

Midwife O’Bray Smith from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital has become the face of a new campaign that aims to put public services at the heart of the March 2011 state election.

O’Bray is joined by five other workers across the NSW public service in areas including community safety, health, transport, education, and frontline and support services who will take the campaign’s message to people around the State in a new TV ad and website.

‘Better Services for a Better State’ aims to unite public sector workers like O’Bray and the communities that rely on them around the need for better services in NSW, not cutbacks.

O’Bray, like many people working across the State’s public health system, is familiar with the growing demand on our hospitals and our health workers. She hopes that through the ‘Better Services for a Better State’ campaign health workers and their patients can better fight for the resources and support they need.

‘As a midwife working in a public hospital I know first-hand about the growing demand on our public health system,’ said O’Bray.

‘By uniting with patients, other health and public sector workers and the broader community I’m confident we can win improvements, including safe skill mix standards, improved funding and support in all area health services and greater recognition for our experienced nurses.’

Central to the campaign is a new website www.betterstate.org.au which will allow workers and the broader community to put pressure on State politicians on all sides of politics.

The new, interactive website gives workers practical tools for organising events and actions as well as a platform for discussing the hot topics around the delivery of important public services. Politicians will also feel the heat, with workers able to send a message direct to their elected representatives.

Workers across the public sector, including teachers, nurses, police, fire fighters, utilities workers and people in frontline and support roles gathered at Sydney Trades Hall on 22 October for the campaign’s launch.

O’Bray said ‘Better Services for a Better State’ is about giving public sector workers and the people of NSW a platform for arguing for the services they need.

‘Part of this campaign is about encouraging workers like us to come up with ideas that will drive service delivery into the 21st century.

‘As a broader community, we need to decide the sort of community we want – one that has quality services supporting people.

‘Finally, we want politicians on all sides of politics to listen to the community and commit to investing in NSW jobs and services.’

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said the public sector unions would ramp up the campaign over the coming months, a critical period for public sector workers and the broader community.

‘As all sides of politics develop their policies in the run up to the next election, we want to know if they are prepared to make an investment in NSW public services and in the people that deliver them,’ said Mark.

Mark also said public sector unions would launch a major advertising campaign early next year to ensure politicians heard the community’s message.