At a time when our health system is already under the pump, it has emerged that the previous Liberal Government left 1,112 temporary nurses unfunded across New South Wales beyond the 2024-25 fiscal year.
“Everyone I speak to in Macquarie Fields already knows health services in South-West Sydney are under extreme pressure, I’m shocked by confirmation that the last government planned to cut more than 100 nurses from our area,” Member for Macquarie Fields Anoulack Chanthivong said.
Incoming briefings provided to the Minns Labor Government revealed that 119.2 nursing positions in the South West Sydney Local Health District were among dozens of unfunded nurses in 14 local health districts (LHDs) along with the Childrens Hospital Network.
“The former government’s unfunded plan for nurses in the Southwest will have a significant impact on Campbelltown and our region,” Member for Campbelltown & Parliamentary Secretary for Western Sydney Greg Warren said.
Member for Liverpool Charishma Kaliyanda pointed out that South-west Sydney is one of the largest and busiest health districts in the country.
“Having to absorb the impact of this puts further pressure on already at capacity staff. It’s unfair to these hardworking men and women who are at the frontline of caring for our community,” she said.
During Question time on the 23rd of August, in response to a member of the government addressing the former government’s budget mismanagement – which left these 1,112 essential health workers unfunded – the former treasurer and current Shadow Minister for Health Matt Kean interjected to inform the house these were ‘COVID recovery nurses’.
“The Minister is being deliberately quarrelsome, misleading the house about nurses that were COVID recovery nurses,” Mr Kean admitted to the chamber.
The Shadow Health Minister confirmed that the Coalition’s intention was to sack 1,112 nurses – at a time the NSW health system is under immense pressure.
“Matt Kean has confirmed what we all knew, but they were too cowardly to admit before the election – the Coalition government had no intention of continuing to fund these essential nurses,” Minister for Health Ryan Park said.
This massive funding black hole includes no funding allocated for:
- 138.2 nurses in the Hunter New England LHD
- 119.2 nurses in South Western Sydney LHD
- 109.1 nurses in Western Sydney LHD
- 104.4 nurses in South Eastern Sydney LHD
- 99.4 nurses in Sydney LHD
- 82 nurses in Northen Sydney LHD
- 61.4 nurses in Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD
- 57.1 nurses in Central Coast LHD
- 56.1 nurses in Western NSW LHD
- 51 nurses in Northern NSW LHD
- 50 nurses in Nepean Blue Mountains LHD
- 43.3 nurses in Mid North Coast LHD
- 41.6 nurses in Murrumbidgee LHD
- 41 nurses in Childrens Hospital Network
- 26.6 nurses in Southern NSW LHD
“We are facing rapid population growth in the South West, particularly in Leppington, and it’s clear the public health system in South Western Sydney is already under pressure following 12 years of underinvestment,” Member for Leppington Nathan Hagarty said.
Member for Camden Sally Quinnell said that “losing these vital nurses will stretch our healthcare services to the limit.”
The Liberals and Nationals failure to fund our essential workers is just one element of a $7 billion black hole uncovered by the Minns Government which included a funding shortfall of $700 million for children living in out of home care and a school repair backlog of $1.2 billion.