The VAU State Council is the elected committee of management of the union. It comprises 45 elected representatives who are currently working in the ambulance industry in Victoria. This includes private patient transport and emergency call takers and dispatchers.
State Council is not simply an advisory group. It is the elected governing body of the union who steer its direction, oversee its finances, determine its position on important matters and ensure that the union is focused on delivering strong outcomes for its members.
This makes the VAU genuinely democratic and member driven.
The VAU is not affiliated with any political party and does not donate any member money to any political party.
However, we are very politically active and lobby State and Federal Government in relation to issues such as occupational violence, ambulance resourcing, hospital ramping, health and safety and stronger regulation of the private sector. We also regularly represent members in State Government working groups and consultative committees, including the Health Worker Infection Prevention and Wellbeing Taskforce. We are often requested to provide advice to government on ambulance and pre-hospital considerations including; recommendations from the Mental Health Royal Commission, legislative change to public intoxication laws, and changes to the non-emergency patient transport regulations.
Throughout the COVID19 pandemic the VAU successfully advocated for many of the protections that were introduced to support healthcare workers, including special leave, hotel accommodation for isolating healthcare workers, priority testing, improved PPE standards and supply, access to COVID19 vaccinations, and alternative duties for vulnerable members with medical conditions.
Legal Advice & Industrial Support
The VAU employs expert employment lawyers and industrial officers who are experienced in representing ambulance members.
There are very few industrial matters that the VAU team have not dealt with including pay issues, roster issues, professional conduct matters, graduate issues, performance management, bullying and harassment, coronial matters, AHPRA matters, workplace injury and drug and alcohol matters.
We have a team of industrial officers and lawyers on staff who are experienced in areas as diverse as government policy, criminal law and industrial law. The VAU legal/industrial team run to lawfirm standard and matters are always handled professionally and confidentially.
Our focus is entirely on getting the best possible outcomes for the individual member who needs our protection. We deal with a wide variety of ambulance industrial matters on a daily basis, and achieve very good outcomes.
The best outcomes are achieved when your case is dealt with professionally by our team of legal and industry experts, who have a clear understanding of all issues. We know how important your job and professional reputation is to you. The VAU will not use your individual matter to attempt to recruit members, build our profile or engage in any other agenda.
Being a registered paramedic or an ambulance community officer (ACO) comes with enormous responsibility. It is an industrially challenging and complex area that has members scrutinised by their employer, investigative organisations, AHPRA, courts, tribunals and the community. This is not something that you want to confront alone.
It is important that you are backed by the union that has professional experience with these matters. When it comes to representing paramedics and ambulance workers there are few issues the VAU does not have experience with.
Ambulance Victoria is an organisation with enormous resourcing and cultural challenges. VAU members expect to see their union deliver real outcomes. This is only achieved by a strong union with the collective strength to get genuine outcomes where it matters the most.
Private Patient Transport
To deliver comprehensive services to all members, the VAU employs a team of staff who provide daily advice, support and representation. This includes dedicated organisers who work with our industrial officers/lawyers for members on individual matters, and collectively for workplace reform.
Our goal is to improve the wages and working conditions for our members to bring them in line with their public sector colleagues.
This will require significant reforms to the industry, as some private companies continue to push for profit over improved working conditions and better patient outcomes.
The VAU represents Ambulance Call-takers and Dispatchers who work for the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) in individual employment matters and collective disputes, workplace matters, enterprise bargaining with ESTA, and when negotiating for further workplace reforms at a Government level. Achievements include paid COVID leave for workers who present at work with a high temperature but have no other symptoms, improved wages and working conditions, and improvements to ambulance dispatch systems.
ESTA plays a crucial role in the healthcare system and the VAU will continue to improve the working conditions for ESTA workers and improve ambulance response to the community.
More recently the VAU has been lobbying Government for increased staffing levels to ease the pressure ESTA workers have been facing, and to introduce improvements to the Medical Priority Dispatch System, giving operators greater flexibility with the triage of callers.