The Victorian opposition promised free public transport for healthcare workers on Sunday in a $100 million election pitch to retain stressed staff, on the same day Premier Daniel Andrews reported Victoria had recruited 700 international employees to work in the health system.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said more than 260,000 healthcare workers would be eligible for free travel across all metropolitan and V/Line public transport services until November 2026.
The opposition policy, announced on Sunday, pledged Victorian nurses, personal and aged care workers, allied health workers, paramedics, and other staff would be eligible for a special Myki card.
Guy said workers would save up to $7,200 over four years if they were daily users traveling in zone one and two in Melbourne. It will cost at least $110 million in lost fare revenue over four years, but this figure will depend on how many workers use the scheme.
“To fix the health crisis we need innovative solutions to attract, retain and reward health workers,” he said.
“Our nurses have given so much for our community over the past three years – this important commitment demonstrates the value we place on them. A cheaper, easier commute to work is exactly what our nurses need and deserve.”
Signaling the importance of healthcare in the upcoming Victorian election, Guy made his commitment at The Alfred while Andrews spoke about his health plans across town at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
Andrews dismissed questions at a press conference on Sunday about whether he would match the opposition’s policy, pointing to his own announcement about healthcare workers receiving the first of two $1500 winter retention bonuses.