Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 2127 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
In relation to the new issues Mrs Cross raises this afternoon, the point I was making in relation to the cost is that it is not appropriate for the government to pay different rates to receive the same service. Why do we pay differential rates for the same service?
In relation to the ACCC, the advice I have received is that previous administrations have had the view that the views of the ACCC and the Trade Practices Act would prohibit collective bargaining by VMOs in the ACT. When I inquired, the department advised me that there is no documentation in the department to that effect.
MRS CROSS: It would be nice to get an answer to my first question but I do have a supplementary. What is the advice you have that your approach would reduce taxpayers' expenditure or have you received advice to the contrary that it will increase it, and will you table in the Assembly any advice that you have received on this matter before question time next Tuesday?
MR CORBELL: I think I just answered that question.
Mrs Cross: No, you did not.
MR CORBELL: Mrs Cross may not like the answer but I think I have answered the question. The answer to the question, just to repeat it, is that it is not appropriate for the government to pay two VMOs different rates of pay to deliver the same service. That is the consequence of the individual bargaining approach adopted by the previous government. The cost of paying for VMOs' services will probably go up because it has been two, three, if not four years since their contracts were last negotiated. Therefore, given the overall increase in the price of services generally, I would expect the price of VMOs' services would go up regardless of the bargaining method.
The point I was making yesterday, which Mrs Cross does not seem to accept, is that it is not appropriate to pay different rates of pay for the same service, delivered in the same way, at the same volume, in the same hospital.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Corbell. Members, because the issue of outstanding responses to questions has been raised, I will add at this point that I have just approved of a process in which, because the Estimates Committee has been dissolved, those outstanding responses which have been sent to the secretariat will be handed to me and I will table them in the Assembly.
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Chief Minister. Has the Chief Minister had an opportunity to peruse Auditor-General's report No 5 of 2003- to do with the release of FAI House- tabled in this place earlier this week? Did the Chief Minister experience a sense of deja vu in reading the Auditor's comments?
MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. Yes, I certainly did. What about a blast from the past on the Liberal Party's commitment to progress? It conjured up the Bruce Stadium; it conjured up Hall/Kinlyside and it conjured up the