NSW Sets a New Standard on Parental Leave

Teachers, nurses, firefighters and other public sector workers across the State will be encouraged to share childcaring responsibilities between partners under an overhaul of the NSW Government’s paid parental leave scheme.

From October, there will no longer be a distinction between a ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’ carer, meaning every mother and father in the public sector will be entitled to at least 14 weeks’ paid parental leave.

The NSW Government will also offer parents an additional 2 weeks’ ‘bonus leave’ if paid parental leave entitlements are more equally shared between partners.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke welcomed the announcement which is part of the 2022-23 NSW Budget.

“This initiative is about supporting families by allowing them to share child care responsibilities”, Ms Cooke said.

“It is part of recognising that both parents deserve the ability to choose a career, have a family or have both.”

The NSW Government will also expand the window in which public servants can take paid parental leave from one year to two years after birth, and extend paid parental leave to long-term or permanent foster carers.

The ‘bonus leave’ scheme is one of the first of its kind in Australia and will apply where each parent (including parents employed outside the public sector) takes at least 12 weeks’ parental leave and exhausts any paid parental leave offered by their employers. Single parents will be entitled to the full 16 weeks of paid parental leave.

The paid parental leave reform is part of the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to supporting women in the workforce, policy reform and investment into women’s economic participation.

End-of-Life Care and Services Improved in NSW

The NSW Government is improving palliative care and other specialist health services with a $743 million injection into services and staffing, which will see greater comfort and dignity for NSW residents who require palliative care.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said the five-year funding is on top of the $300 million the NSW Government invests in palliative care services each year. 

“It is estimated that of the 50,000 people on average that die in NSW each year, 70 per cent could benefit from palliative care services,” Ms Cooke said.

“Today’s announcement will significantly boost funding for end-of-life palliative care, delivering equitable access to pain management services, avoiding unnecessary hospitals stays and providing comfort and dignity to NSW residents at end of life.”

Ms Cooke said palliative care and end-of-life health professionals provide an untold amount of comfort to patients and families and she welcomes the 600 additional professionals being added to the NSW workforce.

“Our health professionals and dedicated palliative care staff provide so much comfort to those entering the final stages of their life,” Ms Cooke said.

“I am pleased that this funding boost will allow us to support staff and services to continue that high-quality and compassionate care into the future.”

The $743 million funding over five years includes $650 million to:

  • employ an extra  600 nurses, allied health professionals, doctors, and support staff
  • boost hospital capacity and implement best-practice models for supportive and palliative care
  • improve access to pain management services for patients with life-limiting illness, to help patients and their family and carers
  • improve services for people with late stage chronic and degenerative conditions, and cancer
  • further strengthen outpatient and community health services
  • support consumer choice and excellence in end-of-life and palliative care
  • strengthen virtual care, transport and equipment programs
  • improve partnership with non-Government organisations, primary care and aged care services. 

Boost for the NSW Ambulance Service

The NSW Government has announced a $1.76 billion boost to frontline emergency care to deliver 2,128 new recruits and 30 more ambulance stations as part of the NSW Government’s 2022-23 Budget.

Member for Cootamundra, Steph Cooke said the record investment will ensure the community has access to a quality Ambulance service for years to come.

“With ambulance services across the country experiencing unprecedented demand, the NSW Government is ensuring our communities and our paramedics are well placed for the challenges ahead,” Ms Cooke said.

“In addition to 30 new ambulance stations, this record funding will deliver extra paramedics, ambulance support staff, nurses and doctors, increasing capacity from call centres to call outs. NSW Ambulance will have the largest paramedic workforce in the country.”

“This is great news for our community. We rely on our local paramedics and now they’ll have additional support to continue the invaluable work they do for us.”

The $1.76 billion over four years will provide NSW with 1,857 extra paramedics, 210 ambulance support staff, 52 nurses and eight doctors.

In this Budget, the NSW Government will deliver 30 new stations including at Warilla, Kincumber, Lisarow, Gateshead, Swansea, Cherrybrook, Raby and Narellan in the coming year, with 22 more stations to come over the following three years.