'Ridiculous': 400% price hike leaves volunteer ambos fuming

AN ENFORCED rise in St Johns service costs has volunteers worried and community events bracing for a financial blow.

Under direction from the St Johns head office, costs for volunteers to attend community and sporting events could jump by as much as 400 per cent according to volunteer Brian Ellingsen.

St Johns advanced responder volunteer Brian Ellingsen is not happy with the new charges.Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
St Johns advanced responder volunteer Brian Ellingsen is not happy with the new charges.Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA

St Johns Gladstone branch second in charge, Mr Ellingsen has prided himself on the services the St Johns Ambulance Australia Gladstone branch has provided to the community for 16 years.

But now, with the increase in services costs, Mr Ellingsen said he's worried they will lose work with residents and businesses deeming them "too expensive" to hire for events.

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The 76-year-old said since his involvement starting 1991, he's never seen a price hike as big, and also doesn't see the need for it.

Before the increase, the volunteers would charge a quote based on the specific services they would be carrying out at the event.

A 10-hour stint for two volunteers at the Go Kart track would come to about $150, Mr Ellingsen said.

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But new policy enforced means the organisation will now charge $60/ hour, for the standard two first aid officers to come out.

For a regular 10-hour job, that is about $600 businesses and event organisers will need to fork out.

"It's ridiculous," Mr Ellingsen said.

"We volunteers don't see the need for such expense and we're the ones doing the work."

The organisation has even has people asking them where else they can go for the services, in search for cheaper prices.

"Yes it will bring more profit, but we don't want it," he said.

"We are very worried about it, it has knocked the bottom right out of everything."

A post made on Facebook sharing this news prompted State MP Glenn Butcher to respond.

"This is very disappointing if they are doing this," Mr Butcher commented on Facebook.

"The State government recently gave them a community grant worth $35,000 to purchase a new vehicle in Gladstone."

Mr Butcher said the matter would be followed up throughout the week.

The Observer contacted St John Ambulance Australia to confirm the price hike and the reason for it, but have yet to receive a response.

The organisation was also asked whether a lack of funding and support was the reason for the need of price increase.

The Gladstone branch held a meeting last night; Mr Ellingsen said issues brought up during would be put forward to the organisation's head office.


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