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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 117 ..

MR MOORE: It is not my intention to move appropriation legislation, because that is the role of the Treasurer. However, taking the meaning of what you are saying to be whether there will be a second appropriation that deals with the issue of nursing, I think I have the Treasurer's permission to say that that will be the case, that there will be a second appropriation. The only question is that it may be very early in March, rather than late in February.

Let me assure the nurses at the Calvary Hospital who have agreed to it that their pay will take account of the increase of 12 per cent, plus or minus, from just before December when they signed up. I have to say in regard to the preparation of the appropriation that, should the nurses at Canberra indicate that they do not wish to accept the offer or do not even wish to go to a vote on it, it would be pointless for us to put money in that second appropriation for them and I would be unwilling to take it to the government and encourage it to do that.

I sincerely hope that when the nurses at the Canberra Hospital meet on Friday, as I understand they will, they will be able to make that decision. However, there will be a second opportunity after that, that is, the development of the budget for next year. We have put an offer on the table. We want them to accept it. We think that it is a good offer.

Last night I clarified one issue which I think was not clear. I had said a number of times that we would grandfather the demand we were making with regard to level two nurses and there was some misunderstanding of that message between the Canberra Hospital and the Nursing Federation. I clarified last night that grandfathering will apply to any conditions. I hope that that will make it easier for the Nursing Federation and the nurses at Canberra Hospital to accept the very good offer that we have made.

Mr Stanhope, since you have asked me the question, I would have to say to you that one thing that has surprised me greatly is your very quiet approach to this matter. Perhaps you have taken the attitude I have that it is now a matter for negotiation between the hospital and the Nursing Federation and we should stay out of it, but I have to say that I would be really keen to know whether the Labor Party thinks that this offer is a good one. After all, there would be many unions in the ACT, I would have thought, which would be very pleased to receive an equivalent offer, a 12 per cent offer.

It should be remembered that for some of the workers, the evening workers, we are talking about going well beyond their current 15 per cent loading in addition to the 12 per cent rise over the period, so there will be a very significant increase for those nurses. If you look at the attitude of the nurses at Calvary Hospital you will find that 83 per cent of them are saying that it is a good offer. I have to say that I wonder what Labor thinks about that, because it has been very quiet indeed on it.

MR STANHOPE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. It is relevant to note that the minister has commented on my quiet approach on this issue. I think he meant that I am always sensible, wise and considerate in everything I do on all occasions.

MR SPEAKER: Ask your supplementary question, please.

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