SA Ambos pounce on savings talk
South Australian ambulance officers have been told that the State Government plans to cut almost $8 million from the service, prompting them to threaten industrial action.
Reports say an industrial liaison meeting this week heard that the Treasury Department was looking for $7.9 million in savings from the SA Ambulance Service.
Ambulance Employees Association secretary Phil Palmer said it was a “quite bizarre” concept that the union would “resist with vigour”.
“Yesterday at one of our regular liaison meetings with the ambulance service we were advised that there was a total of about $7.9 [million in] budget cuts or savings that Treasury are seeking from the ambulance service,” he told ABC reporters.
“We know full well the ambulance service needs to expand and not contract.
“Our members' ability to look after the community will be compromised with those sorts of cuts.
“There's no way we can assist in [the Government's] Transforming Health [policy] if we can't even do the job we are doing now before it occurs so we will resist the figure.”
Health Minister Jack Snelling admitted that the Government was looking for efficiencies, but claimed that the service's overall budget would in fact increase by 6 per cent.
“The SA Ambulance Service Budget will grow by $14 million this year,” he said.
“We are putting on more paramedics as part of Transforming Health and we are in the process of building three new ambulance stations.”
“As with all parts of Government, we are always looking at ways to make our system work better be more efficient, but the overall Budget for our Ambulance Service is actually increasing by more than 6 per cent.”