Page 2223 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022

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Motion to take note of petition

MADAM SPEAKER: Pursuant to standing order 98A, I propose the question:

That the petition so lodged be noted.

Nurses and midwives—recovery plan—petition 19-22

MR DAVIS (Brindabella) (10.18): After that delay, I would like to move to a very important issue—that is, the situation faced by our nurses, our midwives and our AINs here in the ACT. As a proud unionist and a consistent advocate for working people, I am proud to support this petition from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, which has received the support of 2,697 Canberrans.

Last week I joined comrades from the ANMF—nurses, midwives and AINs—on the lawns of the Calvary hospital. I heard branch secretary Matt Daniel speak. Tongue in cheek, he said how customary it is to give cake and chocolates to nurses, midwives and other frontline health workers. I do not know how to bake, and I do not have a taste for chocolate, so I hope solidarity will do.

Nurses and midwives are such an integral part of our society. They help to protect the community and keep it healthy and strong. They help us when we are sick or just unsure about something regarding our health and our bodies.

The ANMF also represent our professional and passionate midwives, who help people through the incredible experience of childbirth, ensuring that both they and their child have a safe and empowering experience at birth. Midwives also care deeply for those who experience childbirth that involves grief and loss—a testament, too, to the important role of nurses and midwives throughout our lives, in times of joy, loss, life, death, pain and recovery. These strong people have been the bedrock of our society throughout the pandemic, and they continue to support Canberrans, even with their ever-increasing workload and the additional pressures placed upon them by this global pandemic.

The demand on the healthcare system and these workers increases every single year, with limited compensation and increasing pressures of work impacting on their mental health and their physical health.

Throughout COVID, nurses have been on the front line, managing the response to this pandemic, from administering tests at our drive-through clinics to caring for elderly Canberrans in lockdown in aged-care facilities. Nurses have been integral to our swift and comprehensive rollout of vaccinations, and to communicating key public health messages around reducing transmission. Midwives have assisted people to give birth during the heightened pressures of lockdown—a very intense and isolating situation to guide people through.

High rates of infection and transmission at present have placed nurses and midwives under increased strain, not only for those providing care to people in our hospitals but across the workforce, with very high numbers of workers taking leave to quarantine with, and recover from, COVID.

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