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Question: Incentives for Regional Nurses

10 April 2024

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:39): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector on the topic of incentives for regional nurses.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: Earlier this month, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) launched a campaign to implement rural and remote incentives to assist with attraction and retention by addressing improved relocation allowances, better assistance with removal costs and improved support with HECS/HELP repayment options. Their website states that during the 2022 public sector nursing and midwifery enterprise agreement, DHW agreed to such incentives; however, they have not yet been delivered.

My question to the Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector is: when does the government intend to honour the agreement reached with the ANMF to provide rural and remote incentives to nurses and midwives, and what is the government doing to attract and retain nurses and midwives in regional South Australia?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:40): I thank the honourable member for his question. It is a matter that I am aware of and I know it is primarily being dealt with by the line minister, in effect, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. What I can say is that we as a government are aware of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation's views and petition and calls in this area.

I am aware that Health are actively reviewing rural and remote service payments for nurses and midwives to enable appropriate incentives and tailored support. I am also informed by the Department for Health and Wellbeing that there are relocation reimbursements that have been introduced of up to $15,000 to attract healthcare professionals to South Australia who work for SA Health.

As the member has indicated, it is difficult to attract professionals to regional areas, and it is difficult to attract professionals generally. It is a very tight labour force market. As I have said, I know that the Department for Health are actively reviewing these sorts of incentive payments