Jim McGinty

Jim McGinty

Attorney General; Minister for Health; Electoral Affairs

    Nurses' $250million claim more than health system can afford

    21/01/2005 10:32 PM

    Health Minister Jim McGinty said the State Government could not pay the Australian Nursing Federation’s wage claim because it would cost the health system more than a quarter of a billion dollars.

    “With a State election looming the easiest political solution would have been to capitulate to the ANF’s pay claim,” Mr McGinty said.

    “But to do so would have crippled the health budget and taken tens of millions of dollars away from direct patient care.

    “We want our nurses to be as well paid as possible, but the ANF proposal would see nurses receiving pay rises of up to 25 per cent plus big improvements in conditions.

    “The Government has a responsibility to all taxpayers and unfortunately the ANF’s claim in its current form is beyond what is reasonable and affordable.”

    In its revised log of claims, the union is seeking a range of increases including:
    • a five per cent per annum pay rise, which compounded totals 15.8 per cent over three years;
    • a weekly qualification allowance of four per cent on top of any salary increases. About 20 per cent of nurses would be entitled to this allowance. On top of the extra wage increases, some nurses would receive a 24.7 per cent salary increase;
    • two new levels at the top of the automatic pay scale for level one nurses which amounts to a 20.7 per cent wage increase for more than half of level one nurses;
    • an across the board increase of $20 a week for level two nurses and senior registered nurses. This amounts to a 17.9 per cent wage increase for all level two nurses and a 17 per cent -17.5 per cent increase for senior registered nurses;
    • an increase in night shift loading from 20 per cent to 25 per cent;
    • an extension of hours that night shift loading is paid;
    • increases to on-call allowances; and
    • provision to take up to 10 weeks long service leave after eight years of service.
    Mr McGinty said the only way to settle the nurses’ Enterprise Bargaining Agreement would be through formal arbitration in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

    “What could be fairer than asking the industrial umpire to settle the matter?” he asked.

    “We have done our best to negotiate a new EBA with nurses to ensure they are among the best paid in the country but after 10 months we are still too far apart.

    “So now we will just have to put up with Mark Olson being a pest and stalking the Premier during the election campaign.”

    Minister's office: 9220 5000