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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3504 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

I also note that there is to be mediation before arbitration, and that seems sensible. I would like the minister to clarify whether it will be possible for individuals to go to arbitration or will this be restricted to groups of people. I will ask the rest of my questions when we reach the detail stage.

MRS DUNNE (12.25): Mr Speaker, I will be blissfully brief. While the opposition recognises the importance of creating a situation where VMOs can negotiate with the government in an orderly fashion, what has happened with this legislation and with the actions of the minister in the Industrial Relations Tribunal is that this government wishes to create a different class of treatment for visiting medical officers from that given to other people in industrial situations.

What is being proposed in this legislation is unconscionable. What if this minister, who was once a minister for industrial relations, tried to impose these conditions on the Australian Nurses Federation or the Transport Workers Union? Could you imagine the situation if this minister, as a minister for transport, tried to impose these sorts of conditions upon the Transport Workers Union and you could only negotiate in accordance with a set of guidelines set down by somebody who was also a party to those negotiations-in that case, the minister?

Mr Corbell: VMOs are not employees.

MRS DUNNE: On the occasions that they are actually serving the people of the ACT in public hospitals they are effectively employees.

This impasse is to the detriment of the health of the people of the ACT. It is important that we create a situation where there is no circumstance in which the VMOs might be appearing to collude under the Trade Practices Act, and that part of the legislation needs to be supported. But the soft and cooing words of the minister in his introduction speech hide the fact that really what he wants to do is screw the VMOs over.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.28 pm to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Trees in Nettlefold Street, Belconnen

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Planning, Mr Corbell. Minister, on 27 August this year, this Assembly passed a motion that the ACT government negotiate with the owners of the site at the corner of Nettlefold Street and Coulter Drive a land swap, or suitable compensation, to ensure the preservation of the magnificent trees on that site. Have you negotiated with the owners, as the Assembly called for?


MR SMYTH: I have a supplementary question. Minister, when will you negotiate with the owners, as the Assembly called for?

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