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Premier promises $50 million education and training fund

Premier promises $50 million education and training fund

Daniel Andrews announces $50m workforce development fund. Photograph by Chris Hopkins

A re-elected Labor Government will invest $50 million to attract and retain nurses and midwives in the workforce, the Premier Daniel Andrews announced at the ANMF (Vic Branch) Delegates Conference.

Mr Andrews said the $50 million would fund 400 new postgraduate scholarships for nurses and midwives, including refresher training for up to 800 nurses and midwives returning to work after a break. Across the fund $10m would be dedicated to providing scholarships for rural and regional applicants.

The funding would also enable the government to establish an enrolled nurse graduate program and expand the existing registered nurse graduate program, and support clinical mentors.

‘If you think about any challenge in our health system, it comes back to “Do you have enough staff, the right staff, in the right place? Have you supported them properly, to respond to changes in our health system, to respond to the demands and pressures that a modern health system confronts every minute of every shift?”’ Mr Andrews said.

The Premier said the government understands the challenges faced by nurses and midwives because it listens to, and respects, the ANMF and nurses and midwives. ‘We do have to acknowledge that there are shortages, that there hasn’t been enough investment for a really long time,’ the
Premier said.

Mr Andrews said all the research showed that one-to-one care in birthing suites is optimal for mothers and babies but workforce shortages meant that this ratio is not yet possible. Providing funding for scholarships and refresher training for midwives would start to address the shortage so the ratio could be practically implemented.

Mr Andrews described the ANMF as ‘unapologetically fierce and forthright and formidable’ in its advocacy on behalf of members to the Victorian Government. He recognised the crucial role of nurses and midwives in saving and changing lives.

‘Your skill, your commitment, is so very real for so many families, so It’s only right that your union would be in there being an effective voice for improving and enhancing services that are so relevant to so many Victorians,’ Mr Andrews told delegates.

Speakers at the 2018 Delegates Conference included ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy, AMWU Shop Steward Troy Carter speaking about the ESSO/UGL protest at Longford, global futurist Chris Riddell, acting CEO of Launch Housing Dr Heather Holst, and comedian Judith Lucy.