NSW v QLD: Battle brews for nurses and midwives

A rivalry of a different kind ignited at the second NRLW State of Origin on 6 June, with NSW nurses and midwives highlighting the growing pay disparity with their Queensland counterparts.

Members from the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) donned their blue scrubs in a show of solidarity with the Sky Blues team. Off the field, members showcased the female-dominated workforce’s own big battle, in their fight for a 15% pay rise this year.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said the salaries of Queensland nurses and midwives were significantly higher than those in NSW, resulting in more and more nurses leaving for the sunshine state.

“When it comes to nurses and midwives, sadly Queensland has already won,” said Ms Candish.

“A staffing crisis is looming across NSW, as more nurses and midwives feel compelled to leave in search of better pay and conditions.

“In a field predominately led by women, our nurses and midwives have been neglected for years. They continue to be grossly undervalued, both in respect and pay. This must change.

“Just like the Sky Blues have had to fight so hard for their recognition, our members – who are big fans – are fighting for recognition of their careers.”

NSWNMA John Hunter Hospital branch assistant secretary, Linda Mobbs, said many nurses and midwives were at their wit’s end.

“Nurses and midwives are fed up with feeling burnt out and overworked. Overtime and double shifts have become the new normal to fill constant staffing shortfalls,” said Ms Mobbs.

“We work tirelessly to provide the best possible care to our patients, yet we receive far less pay than our colleagues in Queensland. We will continue to see our dedicated nurses and midwives leave in droves if our pay and conditions don’t improve.”

Last month, the NSWNMA served its 2024 Award claim on the state government, seeking a 15% pay increase, improvements to conditions and further funding for nurse-to-patient ratios.

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