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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2000 Week 12 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3868..

MR MOORE (continuing):

The effect of this variation should be that each agency's nursing certified agreement is extended to its maximum three - year duration. For the Canberra Hospital this means November 2002, for ACT Community Care it means April 2003, and for the Calvary Hospital it means March 2003. This offer does not open negotiations on a new agreement, but is limited in scope to those matters described for the purpose of burying existing agreements.

The process is, in effect, a midterm amendment to the contracts as allowed under the rules of each of those agreements. On Monday, I wrote formally to each chief executive, informing them of the government's support for this package of initiatives and seeking their cooperation in making such an offer and pursuing an early agreement. The offer of this package of initiatives is being made through each employer separately, and will be finalised through their joint union management enterprise bargaining committees. The chief executives have contacted each of their nurse employees, explaining this offer, and the reforms it expects in return, and the process of negotiating through the relevant unions.

I personally briefed the Australian Nurses Federation about this offer prior to releasing it, and have now also met with the Health Services Union of Australia, which also has nurses as members. I am pleased to say that our discussions have been positive.

Most important of all, the employers have gone to great lengths to communicate directly with their staff, and the reaction, by all reports, has been highly positive. I believe that the great majority of staff will find the government has found the right balance between workplace reforms and the wage benefits in the package.

This initiative is, above all, about the confidence of nurses in their work conditions, and these vital staff knowing that they are valued by the community and this government. I was very pleased to report that the government has delivered a significant boost to that confidence. Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker.

For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Strengthening the ACT Nursing Workforce - Ministerial statement, 7 December 2000.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.


Report - Government Response

Debate resumed.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Care) (4.33): I move the following amendment to Ms Tucker's proposed amendment:

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