Early election campaigning kicks off over nurses
MORETON Bay could become a key battle front for the 2020 State Election as Labor ministers used the Caboolture Hospital to spruik the growing need for nurses in the region.
Queensland Minister for Training and Skills Development Shannon Fentiman and Morayfield MP Mark Ryan met with young nurses last week, who had come through school-based programs and TAFE.
Morayfield is considered a safe Labor seat, but the neighbouring Pumicestone electorate was taken from Labor by the LNP's Simone Wilson by less than a one per cent margin in 2017.
"This is a huge growth corridor, north of Brisbane, and here at Caboolture we're going to need many more health staff," Ms Fentiman said.
"So encouraging young people at local high schools to get a head start in their career, where you can have and build a profession, where you look after members of your community.
"It is critical we encourage more young people here in Caboolture to think about a wonderful career in health."
The minister did not make any new announcements, rather pointed to previous commitments to upgrade the Caboolture Hospital, Caboolture TAFE's nursing program and introduce a subsidy for the Diploma of Nursing.
Earlier this year Ms Fentiman pledged $700,000 to upgrade the Caboolture TAFE into a 'mini hospital ward' and has since added a further $300,000.
It comes after a Federal Labor Party election promise to commit an extra $1 million to Caboolture and Redcliffe TAFE's fell through.
Stage 1 of the project was completed in June and Stage 2 will start later this financial year.
It will increase the TAFE's enrolment capacity from 450 to more than 800.
Ms Fentiman said planning was 'underway" to expanding Redcliffe TAFE so it can provide diploma of nursing courses.
However, LNP Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates hit out at Labor claiming "TAFE debt has surged, while student numbers and completion rates have fallen off a cliff".
"Labor will struggle to recruit more nurses and doctors when they don't support them properly," she said.
"As a registered nurse, I know how stressful this working environment can be for patients and our hardworking nurses and paramedics.
"We should be doing everything we can to attract more doctors and nurses."
"Only the LNP has a plan to reduce hospital waiting lists and provide better patient care."
Ms Bates did not say what the LNP's plan was.
Caboolture's population is expected to grow by 50 per cent by 2031.
Enrolments for 2020 are open now. Visit tafeqld.edu.au/how-to-apply for more information.