Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 2 Hansard (27 February) . . Page.. 329 ..
MR SPEAKER: Actually, that was not a point of order; that was a statement. There is no reference, however, at the moment to the Federal election.
Mr Berry: It is a statement about being even-handed, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Carnell was quite legitimately drawing attention to the fact that for the last seven years the Federal Government has been reducing the amount of money coming to the Territory. That is a perfectly legitimate statement.
MRS CARNELL: Part of the report that I am referring to here is the continual reduction in funding to the ACT. It really demonstrates to everybody here why the Government is simply not in a position to award a 9 per cent pay increase to Government employees without trade-offs. It is bottom line stuff. Here we have on our desks right now, for everybody in this place and everyone in the ACT to see, what is going to happen to our funding next year under a Federal Labor government. We are going to see another reduction - another reduction that simply has to be funded somehow. Does that mean that everybody in this Assembly is still willing to go down the path of a 9 per cent fully budget funded rise with no trade-offs? Remember that that is what is plastered all over the buses out there - no trade-offs at all. The reality is that this Government believes that we now know what our financial situation will be next year under a Federal Labor government, and it further cements our view that we cannot have pay increases that we simply cannot afford.
MR OSBORNE: My question is to Mrs Carnell in her capacity as the Minister for Health. Mrs Carnell, the Booz Allen and Hamilton report recommends that nursing numbers should be reduced by about 100 full-time equivalents. Of these 100 nurses, a very small percentage are of the clipboard-type or clinical nurses. Could you explain to me how you plan to reduce the waiting list at Woden Valley Hospital and still guarantee top quality patient care with close to 100 fewer patient focused nurses in the wards?
MRS CARNELL: Thank you, Mr Osborne. Unfortunately, the information that has been floated around by some in this area is simply wrong. Yes, 100 full-time equivalent nursing positions would be reduced under Booz Allen; but, if you read further, you will realise that none of those are permanent full-time or permanent part-time positions. They are not actually people who are working full time in our hospitals. Those positions relate to less use of casual agency nurses, nurses who fill in. We are not talking about permanent positions at all; we are talking about better management of the staff that we currently have.
As Mr Osborne would be very well aware, slightly more than half of those nursing positions or those nursing hours reductions would be achieved by moving to the triple-eight roster. That rostering situation is something that Mr Berry tried to introduce in 1993. He went to the commission but got knocked off. That seems to be the way we go these days; but, anyway, he went to the commission and got knocked off. We believe strongly that we should go for an implementation of that and we went to the commission.