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Nurses and Midwives

Hansard ID: HANSARD-1323879322-134899

Hansard session: Fifty-Eighth Parliament, First Session (58-1)

Nurses and Midwives

Mr MARK COURE (Oatley) (16:33:57):

I truly believe that every day is an important day to celebrate the fantastic work that our nurses and midwives do in our communities across New South Wales—a view, I am sure, that is shared by everyone in this Chamber. As frontline workers, they do an incredible job and are vital to the wellbeing of people across the State. In every corner of our State, nurses and midwives play a pivotal role in providing care, compassion and unwavering support to people from all walks of life. They are the backbone of our health system, and their resilience over the past few years has been nothing short of remarkable.

During the pandemic our frontline workers, particularly our healthcare staff, were vital for the welfare and health of the people of New South Wales. Day in and day out they worked tirelessly for many years in gruelling pandemic conditions, combatting the outbreaks that occurred in our State and ensuring that those most in need were given the best care. We owe a significant debt of gratitude to our nurses and midwives for their services to our community and our great State. It is important that we recognise the important role they play in our society. Our nurses and midwives work hard for our community, so it is just as important that we provide them with world‑class facilities to ensure that they can succeed.

The previous Coalition Government was proud of its record investment—over $740 million—in St George Hospital after many years of neglect. The transformation has turned a previously underfunded hospital into the shining gem of our local community, complete with world-class facilities. The doctors, nurses, midwives and staff have witnessed the record investment since 2011 with several significant upgrades taking place, including a new emergency department, acute services building, upgrades to operating theatres and a brand-new $11.5 million birthing suite refurbishment. I truly believe St George Hospital is now one of the best hospitals in the State. That hospital allows nurses to work in the best possible environment, providing them with all the tools they need to perform to the highest possible standard.

The New South Wales Liberal-Nationals Coalition are big supporters of our healthcare workers and during our time in government, we announced the largest workforce boost in the nation's history in the 2022-23 budget, with a $4.5 billion investment over four years for 10,148 full-time equivalent staff. We also encouraged aspiring nurses and midwives to succeed in their careers through NSW Health's Enrolled Nurse Scholarships, the Aboriginal Nursing and Midwifery Cadetship Program and the Aboriginal nursing and midwifery scholarships. We wanted more people to choose a rewarding career as a nurse or midwife, and during our time in government, they did. More than 9,340 nurses and midwives joined the NSW Health workforce between mid-2012 and mid‑2022, forming part of an overall 25.2 per cent increase in the NSW Health workforce during our time in government, which made a big difference in the health and wellbeing of our communities. NSW Health has the largest health system in the country and employs more than 53,000 nurses and midwives, which is more than ever before.

The physical surroundings in which people spend their working lives can be an important source of job satisfaction, productivity and wellbeing, especially for our health staff. Under the Coalition Government we delivered more than 180 health infrastructure projects across New South Wales, which ensured that our health staff worked in the highest quality facilities available. Not only did we invest in our nurses and midwives' places of work but we also worked to ensure that we protected them and their safety. Under the previous Government, we announced a $69.7 million hospital security package that saw health and security assistants embedded 24/7 in eight critical mental health facilities, whilst also improving the Police, Ambulance, Clinical, Early Response program. On every level our Government provided measures and support to our nurses and midwives to ensure that they had what they needed to continue their vital work. From bustling hospitals in the heart of Sydney to the remote communities in regional and rural New South Wales, the work of nurses and midwives should not, and will not, go unnoticed. I personally thank all nurses and midwives for their continued dedication and amazing contributions to our society. I congratulate them on all their efforts, as well as everything they have achieved over the past few years.