Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1725 ..
MR BERRY (continuing):
to question that, though I do make the point that the salaried medical officers, at least in some classifications, will receive a 14 per cent pay rise, which is 9.5 per cent better, fully supplemented over the life of the agreement.
Mr Moore: No. We compared the 5.6 to the 10.1 per cent received by some unions - trade unions.
MR BERRY: Let me put it this way: The very clear position from the Government in relation to its general employees is that if there are any pay rises it will cost them jobs - it is as simple as that - or services. In respect of the salaried medical officers a new standard has been created in health, which I am sure other health workers will be keen to latch on to, where full supplementation is okay and there will be no job losses. There are some productivity arrangements, which are welcome, but I think an industrial difficulty has been created in the hospital system. Were I a union official or a worker out there, I would be keen to attach myself to this arrangement.
The Government will find it very difficult to argue that other workers within the system are not entitled to the same, and I have to say that I would be on their side on the basis of this arrangement. That is not to say that the salary increase was not justified. It just seems to me that you have created a problem for yourself by having a double standard. I would be surprised if you were able to extricate yourself from that one without a few scars on you. However, be that as it may. I trust that the nurses and the other classifications will be given fair treatment in the assessment of their wages and working conditions.
Many of us have been through the argument with visiting medical officers who, as contractors, have been in a quite different position from those on salaries. From time to time I have said that I would like to see more people on salaries in the hospital system. Salaried medical officers are entitled, just like anyone else, to reasonable pay increases, and the Government has justified that. I reiterate that I think it has created another standard in health.
Mr Moore raised the issue of the hospice, in light of the Estimates Committee's report and the Government's response. I think he said - - -
Mr Moore: No. I just talked about the length of the lease - the five-year lease. You know, why did you do a five-year lease?
MR BERRY: Yes, he asked why I signed a five-year lease. I was not in a position to sign anything. Even if I were, I would not have been signing a lease for land that the Territory owned because it was Territory land at the time. It would not have been something we would have needed to sign a lease on. As far as I am aware, there was never a lease signed. There was an agreement signed - - -
Mr Moore: It was Terry Connolly, was it not?
MR BERRY: It was Mr Connolly. At the same time there was an agreement reached - I think it was a five-year agreement - with the Little Company of Mary to run the hospice. Nobody ever expected that that would not be renewed but - - -