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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (24 August) . . Page.. 2286 ..

MR MOORE: By all means put a motion that causes us to negotiate with the nurses. That is what we are trying to do. We are doing everything we possibly can to negotiate with the nurses and the Nurses Federation. They have asked us to put issues on the table. They asked whether we would negotiate with the federation. We have said, "Yes", and still they will not sit down with us to undertake those negotiations. There is a range of possibilities that we can manage within the negotiation because we have a hospital, Mr Osborne, that is significantly over-funded. It does have some financial issues to deal with, and we do want to see that done. There are some issues to deal with, but the hospital has the wherewithal to negotiate some salary rises. It does have the wherewithal to look at staffing matters, so we will be trying to manage those things.

One of the things that I believe the federation was seeking was to have the Government put more money into the hospital. The difficulty with that is that if we were to add more money now to the hospital, let us say, for example, $2m, it would be $2m I do not have to put into disability, or age care, or a range of other areas where we would get better health outcomes. That is the issue.

What we do have available to us is salary packaging, the impact of which would be very significant in terms of individual nurses. They voted against salary packaging on its own last ecember, but maybe within a different context. The federation made it very clear that they were not opposed to salary packaging per se, so when we seek to negotiate that it may well be one of the things that can help. The federation's demands included a 12 per cent increase in rates of pay, a 20 per cent increase in senior nursing positions, a 30 per cent increase in casual loadings and a 230 per cent increase in certain allowances. I have to say that this was the first cut at it. We have costed that at a minimum of around $11m over the life of a two-year agreement, with a recurrent end cost at a minimum of $8m thereafter. So, there are large sums involved with their ambit claims. But I accept that that is an ambit claim and is part of a negotiating process.

We will do everything we can, Mr Osborne, to negotiate with the federation, and I have asked the hospital to do everything it can to avoid industrial strife. Unfortunately, it does take two to tango.

Secondment of Public Servant to SOCOG

MR BERRY: My question is to the Chief Minister. As of the last week the directors of Bruce Operations Pty Ltd were Mr Lilley and Ms Moiya Ford. Given the secondment of Ms Ford to SOCOG, how does the Chief Minister explain her continued involvement as a director of Bruce Operations? How much time will Ms Ford spend in each position, and is she being remunerated for both?

MS CARNELL: The Government is in the process right now of reconstituting the board. I think I indicated that to members of this Assembly when we had the last debate. It will include people with knowledge of rather than representing codes of football, business in the ACT, and so on; people who have real capacity in the area of stadiums, football and other issues surrounding the running of BOPL. Announcements with regard to those appointments should be able to be made in the near future. We have had discussions with all of the stakeholders in the area over the last little while. Mr Speaker, it is important to remember that Ms Ford is a director, not the manager, of BOPL.

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