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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (22 June) . . Page.. 2288..

MRS BURKE (continuing):

In light of the confusion regarding the expected outcomes of the first report of the review, the Committee believes the identification of individuals who have been negligent in their duties should be made a clear instruction to the Commissioner. The Committee accepts that on receipt of a report by the Commissioner, it is the role of Ministers to ensure that appropriate disciplinary action is taken.

Here we have it, Mr Speaker: the minister condones her officials breaking the law and being found negligent. In fact, she rewards their poor performance by moving them sideways. There is a bit of ducking and weaving and of smokescreens and mirrors going on here, if you ask me. Again, it is disappointing that we are not seeing anything clear come out of that, although recommendation 18 is quite clear in this regard. It states:

The committee recommends that the Chief Minister direct the Commissioner for Public Administration, at the conclusion of the review of child protection in the ACT, to:

report to relevant ministers and the Chief Minister those officers who have been found to have breached statutory obligations or been otherwise negligent; and

recommend appropriate disciplinary action.

Mr Speaker, I will continue to seek to unravel what I see to be weaving in and out. My whole aim will be to get to the bottom of what is going on here. I note that there are 57 recommendations in the report, some of which are very good. It will take me time to digest them, as it will other members. Obviously, the last thing that we want to be doing is to be holding anything up. I would just flag those comments with members today.

Sitting suspended from 12.27 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Nurses-enterprise agreement

MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the health minister, Mr Corbell, and is in regard to the nurses' EBA. I have been contacted by worried nurses regarding their EBA and the heavy-handed approached taken by you as part of these negotiations. My understanding is that the nurses are agreeable to the actual salary increase component of the core template, but are deeply concerned that issues regarding staff workloads have not been addressed. When they asked when these issues would be addressed, they were told by your officials, "We'll do that later."

Minister, why will you not finalise the whole agreement with nurses, rather than just the salary components of the core template, to assure them that the agreements that they are signing up to will benefit them in the long run?

MR CORBELL: The government is interested in finalising all aspects of the agreement as soon as possible. As part of that, the government has outlined its willingness to pay back pay on the basis of a new agreement that is reached prior to that agreement, as long as that agreement is reached before the 26th of this month, at least in principle. We are yet to get that agreement from the nurses union.

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