The VAHPA public sector campaign “Code Blue” kicked off with a bang yesterday! The launch held in the Fitzroy Gardens saw an enthusiastic crowd of VAHPA members gather to celebrate the start of what we anticipate will be a hard-fought yet vitally important campaign for Allied Health Professionals right across Victoria.

The launch comes after months of member consultation including the online survey, over 35 separate member meetings across the state and further online feedback and endorsement.

True to form, the Melbourne weather turned on the rain just as members, armed with BBQ sausages, prepared to hear from physiotherapist Karin Moore. Karin, a delegate in Community Health, talked about the recent Community Health campaign and the mobilization of that sector to achieve a much better agreement than her Public Sector colleagues currently have.

Next up, Rebecca Papworth from St Vincent’s talked about some of the reasons why we need a successful campaign; the unsustainable workloads, inadequate staffing levels and recognition for all the training, hard work and dedication that Allied Health Professionals display.

VAHPA Secretary, Craig McGregor, rounded off the presentations with a stirring speech that brought home the need for genuine commitment by the membership.

The take-home message of the day? Member ownership; your agreement, your wages, your conditions, your union, your campaign! It is time for all members to stand up and demand respect in the workplace.

The serious adversity facing the public sector workforce, as revealed by the VAHPA survey report, ensured that the media came out in force. Three of the major TV networks sent along news crews who interviewed McGregor and members. Following the launch, the VAHPA Facebook page received unprecedented attention. To build on this we need members to like and share the Facebook posts.

This launch marks the start of our fight to boost the profile and conditions of Allied Health Professionals. Much work has been done to get to this point but there is plenty more to do. The Community Health experience has shown us that we can achieve great things if members get on-board.

Now is the time for Public Sector members to step up to the plate. The launch ended with a rousing chant led by McGregor:  What do you do when you hear Code Blue? Revive public health!