NSW Premier to set up working party to review Paramedics Death &Disability scheme

Premier, Mike Baird, has agreed to review the New South Wales Paramedics Death and Disability Benefits Scheme.

Controversial changes to the scheme came into effect on August 20, and sparked a statewide protest – the liquid chalk campaign.

Before the alterations a 20-year-old paramedic permanently injured on the job, and unable to work in any occupation again, would have received a payout of $699,635.

Under the new arrangements this figure stands at $123,487 for a maximum of two years. However, a police officer facing the same scenario would receive $432,127.

After meeting with union officials on Wednesday morning, Mr Baird personally addressed a group of about 80 paramedics at Parliament House.

He outlined his intention to set up a working party to look at other options within a three-month time frame.

The Premier also asked them to stop the liquid chalk campaign but they declined to do so.

A local paramedic, who was in the crowd, says Mr Baird asked them to stop writing slogans on their vehicles.

“Although we feel the Premier is genuinely committed to working out a better deal, stopping the campaign would be a step backwards,” he says.

“We need to build on the momentum we have gained so the public does not forget about this issue over the next three months.”

He says after meeting in Martin Place early Wednesday morning, and gathering signatures for their petition, the group of Paramedics headed over to Parliament House.

“At about 11:30am our union officials went up to meet the Premier and twenty minutes to a half-an-hour later they came back down to advise us of the outcome,” he explains.

“At this stage they told us there was a possibility the Premier may come down to speak to us, and he did, in the afternoon.”

“The Premier told us he respected and supported us. He genuinely appeared committed to coming up with a better deal for us.”

“He told us as treasurer he played a pivotal role in securing the deal the Police now have.”

“However, he also told us he wanted us to stop the campaign as I got the feeling he feels it is a personal attack on him.”

“He didn’t look too pleased when our union representative stood up and said we would not stop the campaign but we would be happy to be part of the working party.”