NSW Ambulance concedes defeat: Coolamon Ambulance Station to be staffed by five paramedics

Volunteer Martin Steele from Coolamon accepts his uniform from NSW Ambulance commissioner Dominic Morgan.
Volunteer Martin Steele from Coolamon accepts his uniform from NSW Ambulance commissioner Dominic Morgan.

COOLAMON Ambulance Station will be manned by five full-time paramedics – instead of three – with NSW Ambulance officially conceding defeat on Thursday. 

The Australian Paramedics Association (APA) notched a milestone victory against bureaucracy after meeting with executives at the Industrial Relations Commission.

Union representatives emerged from negotiations around midday confident the “dangerous, penny-pinching” model, which cut short two full-time positions, would be overturned. 

Just hours later, NSW Ambulance chief executive Dominic Morgan announced the decision. 

“I can confirm that when the new station at Coolamon becomes operational later this year, it will be supported by five paramedics and a contingent of NSW Ambulance trained and qualified Volunteer Ambulance Officers,” Mr Morgan said.

“Supporting five locally stationed paramedics with NSW Ambulance trained Qualified Volunteer Ambulance Officers builds a safety net in this community, allowing us to medically assist the Coolamon community from the local area 24/7.”

The original model was slated to have just three full-time EMTs working alongside a group of volunteers. 

APA president Steve Pearce described it as a huge win for both the Coolamon community, paramedics and the wider Riverina. 

“We've had a big win and we're really pleased with the result,” he said,

“I think the addition of give full-time paramedics will be a significant boom for Coolamon and the surrounds, including Wagga.

“Extra resources is exactly what the community needs right now.

“APA doesn’t take the threat of industrial action lightly but we felt it was such an important issue that it was the only option.”

The trained volunteers will work alongside the five full-time paramedics at the new $1.5 million facility. 

Residents were ecstatic to see the controversial model dismissed.

“I pay for an ambulance service just like somebody in Sydney does, so why should I be treated by volunteers while they’re treated my fully qualified paramedics,” Hope Grinter said. 

“It’s extremely pleasing that the community has won in this situation. We want to be confident we’ll receive adequate treatment in the event of an emergency.”

It came after state MP Katrina Hodgkinson sided with APA.