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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1447 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

missed out because this Government - this Minister - has not spent waiting list money where it should have been spent. I do not know what would have happened had the other States signed up early, because if they had we would not have been given the extra money and we would have been short of equipment. We would most likely have had to cancel surgery in any case.

We spent some time on the VMO and salaried medical officers issue. The Minister was unable to tell us what impact the new contracts will have on the quantity or the cost of services provided by VMOs. We have asked that he report regularly to the Assembly so that we can find out. It was at this time that we discovered that our salaried medical officers have a status that no other worker in the ACT has. Some of them have had a retrospective pay rise of about 14 per cent, and it is not to be paid for out of productivity gains - the way that other workers in the ACT get pay rises. They have been sorted out for special treatment. What a revelation! During a week of questioning when other Ministers told us that the government policy was that all pay rises would be paid for by productivity offsets and that supplementation was not on, the Health Minister revealed, however reluctantly, that some of the most privileged workers in the health system were to be granted a major pay rise, backdated and supplemented, on the grounds of comparisons with workers in other jurisdictions. Comparative wage justice is alive and well in the Health Department! Many other workers will want to enjoy access to this. This represents another deviation from standards in place for other ACT Government workers. I believe that if this option is available to some workers, it should be available to all.

Another area dealt with in detail was that of operations at Karralika and the current review going on there. The committee is concerned that the community could reasonably form the opinion that a conflict of interest exists in the knowledge that the Minister for Health has appointed a former election running mate to conduct a consultancy concerning the performance of the board. (Quorum formed) The committee is concerned - - -

Mr Moore: Mr Speaker, I would like to ensure that the Minister is careful he does not mislead the house on this issue.

MR BERRY: The proposed changes to the criminal injuries compensation scheme raise a series of - - -

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.

MR BERRY: I seek a short extension of time, Mr Speaker. (Extension of time not granted)

MR HIRD (12.04): Mr Speaker, in speaking to my dissenting report on the majority report by the Select Committee on Estimates, I believe it is appropriate to recall the words of someone universally accepted as one of the world's greatest ever statesmen, and I quote:

As an individual who undertakes to live by borrowing, soon finds his original means devoured by interest and next, no-one left to borrow from ... so must it be with a government.

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