The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations has today put forward a proposition to try and prompt a resolution to the longstanding industrial dispute in Victoria that threatens the state’s health services.
“I am concerned about recent developments between the Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association (VHIA) and the Australian Nurses Federation (ANF) regarding a new workplace agreement to cover nurses and midwives in Victoria,” Mr Shorten said.
“As a Victorian, I am concerned about Victorian nurses and the impact these matters are having on Victorian hospitals, Victorian nurses and the broader community.”
“Earlier this week I made approaches to the ANF and the Victorian Government outlining my concerns and view that it is preferable that the parties resolve this matter as soon as possible for the benefit of all Victorians.”
“Importantly, I offered to assist through the appointment of an independent person to determine the matters which remain unresolved between the parties. This offer is designed as a circuit breaker to the current impasse.”
As a result of developments over the course of the week the Minister has this afternoon formally made a written offer of an independent arbitrator to the Victorian Premier, the VHIA and the ANF. A copy of the correspondence is attached.
“I have made this offer in good faith as a constructive way of resolving the outstanding issues,” Mr Shorten said.
“I understand that some significant matters remain unresolved between the parties, including nurse/patient ratios.”
“It is vitally important that all parties abide by the law and the rules set out in the Fair Work Act. I have also suggested that if the parties agree to the proposal then they also agree not to take any industrial action while the outstanding issues are determined.”
“No responsible Minister can condone or support unlawful behaviour as a way to resolve industrial issues.”
“Irrespective of whether the parties take up my proposal, I urge them to work together to resolve this dispute in a lawful, fair and timely manner,” he said.