Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

21 March 2019

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health

Patients to receive the care they need

Confirmation that Union bosses have backed away from threats to refuse to allow surgeries scheduled at the Mersey Hospital today confirms that the Government’s approach has been the correct one.

We’ve consistently encouraged Unions to de-escalate their threats to cancel surgeries and disrupt health services and instead come back to the table and participate in good faith negotiations. It is pleasing they have taken heed of that message, at least for today.

The Government has been negotiating in good faith and have indicated our willingness to revise our wages policy, where we can agree to appropriate offsets to ensure wages policy remains fair and affordable.

It remains of concern though that HACSU continues to have industrial action of refusing to perform some Category 2 and 3 elective surgeries. Under the Union’s surgery bans patients, who have fasted and travelled from across Northern Tasmania, are arriving at hospital not knowing if unions will allow their surgery to proceed. It isn’t appropriate for patients to be put in this position due to industrial action.

I thank our staff for their continuing dedication to their patients. We want to give all our hard working public servants a fair and affordable pay rise, and that’s exactly what we’ve got on the table.

I call on all health unions to put on hold any industrial action and meet in good faith with the Premier and Treasurer next week.

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