Members of the State Upper House have questioned the Government’s plans for staff shortages in WA hospitals after a South Australian midwife’s move to Kalgoorlie-Boulder to start work was delayed by the hard border.
Hannah John last week told the ABC her G2G applications to enter WA from Adelaide were denied multiple times, despite having already accepted a midwife position at Kalgoorlie Health Campus and her partner already living in the city.
At the time, South Australia was categorised as “medium risk” for COVID-19 spread and only people with exemptions were allowed to enter.
Ms John’s experience triggered sustained criticism from the Opposition and cross bench, who said the Government was prioritising new recruits from overseas rather than Australian workers — after the State said it would fly 209 junior doctors from the UK and Ireland to plug some of the gaps.
Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s hospital is in the midst of a staffing shortfall, with the Australian Nursing Federation describing it as a “crisis”.
Shadow Regional Health Minister Martin Aldridge this week said he was disappointed by Ms John’s experience.
“Under the State Government’s current regime, it would be cheaper and easier to relocate to WA to work in the health sector if you live in London than if you live in Adelaide,” he said.
Daylight Saving Mining and Pastoral MLC Wilson Tucker in Parliament said he spoke to Ms John and claimed her passage into WA had since been approved — but questioned the delay.
“Why is the G2G PASS system so rigid and strict with the proof of residency for workers who are in the process of moving to this State, especially healthcare workers?” he said.
“Why are international doctors and health workers being given priority over domestic health workers, and should this incentive be extended to them?”