Paramedics in NSW are refusing to pay working-with-children-check fees.

Health Services Union secretary Gerard Hayes says members have overwhelmingly voted to not pay the $80 fee, due every five years, which used to be covered by the NSW Government.

But the NSW Government has threatened to remove paramedics from duty from April 2018 if they do not pay.

“This government is touting a $4.5 billion surplus yet we’re seeing these sorts of fees they traditionally paid being transferred on to employees,” Mr Hayes said.

“We have no problem with the checks – they’re very good and very appropriate and we’re happy to comply – but paramedics see this as another cash grab.

“We will be campaigning very heavily to ensure paramedics who look after the community don’t have to pay the price. 

“At this point in excess of 800 of our members – from paramedics to superintendents – have indicated they will boycott the fee as a point of principle.”

Mr Hayes said police did not have to pay the fee, so paramedics and health workers should not have to either.

“Why single out one group for preferential treatment,” he said. 

NSW Ambulance says the working-with-children-check fee was tax deductible for employees, and free for volunteers. 

In 2015, Unions NSW lodged an application for a new industrial award to reimburse the fee to public sector employees, but the application was dismissed by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.