In case you missed it, the Victorian government yesterday announced it will pay for the degrees of more than 10,000 nursing and midwifery students from next year.
The state opposition supports the policy. It will be implemented before Victorians head to the polls in November.
Federal reactions to that announcement have now started trickling through. Former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce told Channel Seven it appeared to be a policy designed to woo voters.
“It’s about a state election,” he said. “[There is] the health crisis in Victoria with ambulance ramping. This is a ‘look somewhere else’. It’s a cynical election ploy.
“You can do anything you like as long as you’re willing to pay more tax for it. I wish them all the best. The people in Victoria will have to find $270 million to pay for the nurses. That’s their business.”
However, federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek disagreed.
“We’ve had 10 years of skills shortages from the previous government,” she told Sunrise.
“Barnaby could have fixed this when he was in government. He didn’t, so it’s up to the Victorian state government and other state governments to look for measures. Putting tax dollars into making sure we have an adequate workforce of nurses here in Australia is the sort of thing we like to see taxes spent on.”