Nurses and midwives left behind in state budget

The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) has labelled the 2024-25 budget as a missed opportunity, following a lack of much needed investment into the state’s frontline healthcare workers.

Despite championing $35 billion in health funding, the state government only allocated a fraction towards public sector wages and boosting nursing and midwifery numbers in our hospitals and health facilities.

NSWNMA General Secretary, Shaye Candish, said it was disappointing that no additional funding was earmarked in this year’s budget for further implementation of the historic Safe Staffing Levels policy.

“While the government has invested in the initial introduction of nurse-to-patient ratios in emergency departments, the current funding won’t cover all wards and units in all public hospitals,” said Ms Candish.

“It is crucial that all hospitals across NSW receive staffing enhancements to help relieve the pressures on our stretched workforce and to improve outcomes for all patients coming through the doors.

“It’s very positive to see the government is looking to address some of the housing issues our members are experiencing, with investments in accommodation for essential workers.

“But we know more needs to be done. Nurses and midwives across the state are struggling to find affordable housing right now and they can’t wait another three years before these new apartments are built.”

NSWNMA Assistant General Secretary, Michael Whaites, agreed the state government had missed an opportunity to deliver real change to the nursing and midwifery workforce.

“While investment in affordable housing is welcomed, what’s desperately needed is investment in our workforce. We can’t have a robust public health system in NSW if we don’t have the volume of skilled clinicians now to operate it,” said Mr Whaites.

“We need a 15% pay rise to attract and retain staff in these professions. If the state government doesn’t significantly improve the pay and conditions of nurses and midwives, they will continue to move across the border or leave the industry altogether. The Treasurer needs to do better.”

The NSWNMA is currently in negotiations with the state government on its 2024 pay and conditions claim, with the current Public Health System Nurses’ and Midwives’ (State) Award to expire on June 30.

Join over 77,000 nurses and midwives in NSW by becoming a valued member today.

You’ll automatically become a member of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation