BUDGET REPLY: LABOR TO KEEP AMBULANCE JOBS HERE IN AUSTRALIA

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A Foley Labor Government will require all road ambulances to be restored, assembled, re-built and/or manufactured in Australia. 

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley made the policy announcement in his Budget Reply speech.

Under the plan, all ambulances would be restored, assembled, re-built and/or manufactured in Australia.

The policy will apply to contracts after the March 2019 State election and will not be retrospective.

In NSW, ambulances are assembled and restored with Australian parts and overseas components such as Mercedes cab chassis and some overseas electronic components.

There are several types of road ambulances – city; rural with bullbars; alpine for winter conditions and specialised ones for extremely heavy patients.

Other than the Australian-made requirements, the normal tender process and procedures would apply.

There are about three ambulance manufacturers in Australia including a major one in the Hunter.

The Ambulance Service of NSW annual report says that as of June 30, 2016, there was a declared ambulance vehicle fleet of 1,566. Up to 250 ambulances a year are rotated or re-assembled each year while about 450 vehicles are replaced.

The NSW Ambulance Service fleet is one of the largest in the world and the fleet covers about 44 million kilometres a year or 121,000 kilometres a day.

Currently, there are about six Australian-based companies, but there is competition from New Zealand, Singapore, Finnish and North American companies.

While there is no exact detail in the 2017-18 Budget, in the NSW Health budget for 2015-16, $41.2 million was allocated to the Ambulance Fleet Replacement Program.

In the Treasurer’s Infrastructure Statement, the State Government states that it plans to spend $56.735 million until 2020 on ambulance fleet replacement.

Due to competitive tendering, the new policy is not expected to have additional costs.

This policy does not contravene Australian trade agreements.

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“It makes sense to have Australian ambulances restored and manufactured in Australia to ensure quality control and protect and ensure local jobs.

“We must support our world class paramedics as they are the first responders and face life and death situations.”

“The NSW Ambulance Service fleet is one of the biggest in the world covering hundreds of kilometres a day. This plan gives reassurance to those driving the vehicles, those waiting for help and those tasked with the important job of fixing them.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for the Hunter Kate Washington

“This is a vote of support for our world class manufacturers here in Australia. It is also a vote of confidence in the Hunter.”

“In the Hunter, we have some of the world’s finest ambulance manufacturers. Their workers take pride on their vehicles and pride in their work.”