Paramedics picket Premier's office

ANGRY paramedics picketed Premier Denis Napthine’s electorate office yesterday as a long-running industrial fight enters its second year. 

Seeking resolution of a long-running pay parity impasse, paramedics Debra Baumgartner (front left) and Jock O’Connor lead a picket of Denis Napthine’s office.

Seeking resolution of a long-running pay parity impasse, paramedics Debra Baumgartner (front left) and Jock O’Connor lead a picket of Denis Napthine’s office.

The small crowd stood outside the Liebig Street building yesterday morning accusing the Premier of being more interested in horse racing than in resolving the pay row.

Victorian paramedics are still campaigning for a pay rise they argue will bring them in line with other states. 

Dr Napthine was in Geelong yesterday with Prime Minister Tony Abbott launching the new headquarters for the National Disability Insurance Agency. 

Paramedic and union delegate Jock O’Connor told The Standard morale among ambulance officers in Warrnambool and elsewhere was low. 

In some cases paramedics were working up to 60 hours a week to supplement their wages in overtime and because of demand, he said. 

“It’s to get parity with other states. We’re the worst paid paramedics in Australia. There’s going to be a major crisis in Victoria with paramedics leaving the service and graduates looking elsewhere. There’s a lot of guys ready to retire and there’s a lot of disillusionment,” Mr O’Connor said. 

“It’s coming up to two years in August. We’re just trying to put pressure on Denis to break the impasse. We would love to see him come to the party and look after paramedics. He’s talking about Robbie Waterhouse, he should be talking about paramedics.”

Mr O’Connor also warned coverage of intensive care MICA paramedics was “haphazard” between Geelong and the South Australian border. 

The state government and Ambulance Employees Association are still locked in talks at the Fair Work Commission. 

In March the government said both sides had agreed to take stock before heading into new negotiations. 

The union has rejected an offer of a 12 per cent pay rise over three years. 

Paramedics in Tasmania last month won a 14 per cent pay rise.

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