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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 4 Hansard (26 March) . .

Page.. 1215..

MR CORBELL: These are matters that are appropriately dealt with through the industrial relations arrangements between my directorate and the staff involved, but I have, of course, ensured that I am appropriately advised and aware of all developments in relation to this matter.

What this matter relates to is a disagreement about one clause that deals with special employment arrangements. Special employment arrangements are put in place when the rates of pay available in an enterprise agreement do not match the market rate for recruiting and retaining certain specialised staff. The doctors who have indicated that they feel the need to take this action are concerned about what that clause may mean for them in terms of review of those special employment arrangements, in particular the concern that it may see them lose those payments under special enterprise arrangements without any review.

I can state very clearly that that is not the case, and it has been made clear by our negotiating team that it is not the case. We have made clear that, as is the case across the ACT government, special employment arrangements are subject to review based on market pressures. If it is the case that those market pressures no longer exist and rates of pay are in line with enterprise bargaining arrangements, special employment arrangements are reviewed, but they are done in negotiation and consultation with the relevant staff involved. That remains our commitment, and I trust that we will be able to work through these concerns, restating those commitments to our valued senior medical officers as we move forward in the next couple of days.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, what are you, as the most senior person in our health system, doing to ensure that we do not have an exodus of the most experienced doctors from Canberra's largest hospital?

MR CORBELL: There is nothing before me that would suggest that we will. Special employment arrangements will remain in place and they will continue to be paid where it is deemed necessary to retain the specialised personnel involved. That is why they are there.

The government is not going to remove special employment arrangements if it means we lose the specialised staff that we need. That is why they exist and that is why the government is adopting the sensible approach that it is in relation to this matter.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, what are you doing to ensure that the doctors' threatened strike action does not affect Canberra Hospital's accreditation?

MR CORBELL: There is no suggestion that it will affect the Canberra Hospital's accreditation. The bans that the doctors have indicated they may implement on Monday are bans in relation to administrative tasks that they have. In no way is patient care compromised. There is no change to their duties and their responsibilities

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