Will Hodgman

Premier of Tasmania

7 January 2019

Michael Ferguson, Minister for Health

Welcome decision to end reckless work bans

The Government welcomes the decision by the Australian Nurses and Midwifery Federation to halt reckless work bans which were targeted at patients.

The Government has been negotiating in good faith with unions, including the ANMF, for months. There is another negotiation meeting with the ANMF planned for later this week and that’s where industrial issues should be worked out, not in hospitals and operating theatres.

The Government has offered a fair, reasonable and affordable pay rise, as well as a range of improved employment conditions. It will also ensure that we have the ability to employ even more front line staff so we can further improve patient care.

Since coming to Government, we have employed over 500 additional nurses and opened over 120 additional hospital beds. We have made these investments to meet increasing demand on our health service, with Tasmania experiencing the highest increase in Emergency Department presentations of any state or territory last financial year.

The Government has always believed Tasmania’s hardworking health staff deserve a pay rise, but it must be fair, reasonable and affordable so we can continue to invest in healthcare for Tasmanians.

The union work bans which have now been called off had proposed to target even the most urgent Category 1 surgeries at the Mersey Hospital, including surgery for children, patients that potentially have cancer and other serious illnesses. Threatening to cancel important surgeries for patients as part of an industrial campaign is not acceptable and it is pleasing that the ANMF has today recognised this.

Just yesterday, Labor’s Sarah Lovell was actively supporting the cancellation of important surgeries as part of industrial action. The ANMF’s sensible decision today has seriously exposed the judgement of Sarah Lovell, Rebecca White and the Labor Party.

Will Labor concede that their advocacy, as recently as yesterday, for cancelling surgeries as part of industrial action was wrong and inappropriate?

More Media Releases from Michael Ferguson

More Media Releases from the Minister for Health