At the NSW Labor State Conference on the weekend, NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said his party would support the introduction of nursing staff ratios if it wins the state election next year.

With voters due to head to the ballot box next March, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association welcomed the news.

General Secretary of the New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association, Brett Holmes, said nurses and midwives have campaigned for ratios for several years.

“By committing to support ratios, the NSW Labor Party has shown nurses, midwives and aged care workers the respect they deserve,” Mr Holmes said.

“The NSW Labor Party’s support of ratios will help to put pressure on the State Government which has neglected the issue for too long.

“Disgracefully, the State Government has ignored the need for better, more transparent ratios for seven years.

“By backing ratios today, NSW Labor has recognised the vital role nurses, midwives and aged care workers play in the delivery of safe patient care,” he said.

“Nurses and midwives are angry at this State Government’s inaction and they’ve hit a breaking point. How much longer do nurses have to wait before their pleas are listened to?

The NSWNMU says independent international research shows increased nursing care leads to better health outcomes for patients.

“We cannot reiterate the importance of nurse-to-patient ratios enough,” said Mr Homes.

“We continue to call on the State Liberal-National Government to consult with the NSWNMA to secure safe patient care through improved and expanded nurse-to-patient ratios,” he said.

“Guaranteeing patient safety is too important to ignore and we will continue campaigning for safer staffing levels.”

A number of union members, including nurse Thomas Hoffman and Gerard Hayes, spoke about the importance of staff ratios, particularly in aged care.

Mr Foley also said he will reinstate the M4 cashback scheme for Western Sydney motorists.

Labor Party Leader Bill Shorten announced at the conference that he would bring back penalty rates and reverse funding cuts to the ABC if elected to government at the next Federal election.

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