Essential workforce collapsing in Illawarra-South Coast


Twelve years of attacks on the pay and conditions of essential workers has created gaping holes in the Illawarra South Coast essential workforce, according to new research to be launched today.

report by Professor David Peetz will be launched by Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey and local health and education workers at 10:30 today at Shellharbour Hospital, 15-17 Madigan Blvd, Mount Warrigal.  According to new calculations by Professor Peetz, the public sector pay cap will leave a nurse worse off by $10,136, a paramedic by $10,281 and a teacher by $12,806, when adjusted for inflation over the next three years

The effect on the Illawarra-South Coast region is especially pronounced: 

  • Nurses are the fourth most advertised essential profession in the region.
  • Vacancies for education professionals and carers has trebled in the Illawarra & South Coast 
  • Between 2017 and 22 the growth in vacancies for ‘essential occupations’ grew by 180.5% compared to 108.7% for other occupations.

Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Morey, said the toxic treatment of the workforce was crumbling essential services and voters were ready to send a message.

“Prices are surging and public services are crumbling thanks to Liberal Party policies in the Illawarra and the South Coast,” Mr Morey said. “After 12 years of undermining wages and conditions for nurses, paramedics, teachers and other essential workers the effects are devastating. Workers are fleeing the State. Voters know this and they are preparing to send Dominic Perrottet and Matt Kean a strong message.

“The Liberals sold off the poles and wires to build Sydney toll roads no one can afford to use. When you flog essential services like electricity and roads the new owner needs to find a profit. Hard working families pay the price.

“At the same, Dominic Perrottet and the Liberals have deliberately capped wage growth for exhausted essential workers at less than half the cost of living. It’s no wonder nurses, paramedics, teachers and police are looking for work that actually pays the bills.

“That’s why essential services are in crisis.  Hospitals are understaffed, we’re waiting longer for ambulances, and classrooms are crammed without enough teachers. NSW deserves better.”