NSW has announced a plan to poach essential workers from other states, luring them in with grants of up to $30,000.
The Make the Move campaign aims to boost the number of essential workers in regional NSW by highlighting the stories of nurses, police officers, teachers and midwives who have quit the city.
But when the ambitious ad campaign launched in Adelaide on Wednesday, the SA government wasn’t too happy.
Advertisements rolled out on South Australian TVs and smartphones told teachers and healthcare workers they could earn annual bonuses of between $20,000 and $30,000 if they moved interstate.
SA premier Peter Malinauskas mocked the campaign, saying he understood why NSW was attempting to poach in-demand staff given 30,000 people left the state last year.
“That’s a big reduction … It speaks to a need to advertise to others about why they might want to stay there,” he said.
“We’re doing a far better job of being able to attract people to our state. This state’s got a lot of things going our way, increasingly it’s being talked about in other parts of the country and we welcome that.
“If that means NSW has to spend dollars on their own television ads to keep their own people there so be it, that’s their prerogative.”
SA treasurer Stephen Mullighan also slammed the campaign.
“What you’re seeing from (NSW premier) Chris Minns and NSW is a last-ditch attempt to start filling some skills gaps that have grown into yawning chasms in the last three years,” he told ABC Adelaide.
Mr Mullighan warned the bonuses mightn’t even cover the higher cost of living in NSW.
“I am not panicking in the face of Chris Minns offering $20,000 in relocation costs to move to a higher cost, lower lifestyle place somewhere in regional NSW for workers who quite frankly have a much better place to live here in SA,” he said.
While the $24 million campaign currently targets SA, Mr Minns said he had his sights set on Queensland and Victoria, too.
“For the past decade, other states have been poaching our best and brightest to work in their institutions,” he said.
“If there are good people that are considering relocating, coming and working in the NSW public service, we’d love to have them.”
Mr Minns said he hadn’t even warned his SA counterpart about the campaign rollout.
“He [Mr Malinauskas] can read about it in the newspapers or watch our ads on TV,” he said.