The State Opposition has called for government ministers to step outside their comfort zone and immediately fix the on-going health workers’ payroll debacle.
But as the argument continues thousands of workers are facing a third fortnight without pay.
Ashleigh Elliott reports.
The frustration for Queensland health workers is rolling into its fifth week with no signs from Health Minister Paul Lucas as to when the situation will be under control.
As the pressure mounts for him to fix the pay problems he today appointed a new Task Force head to take control.
Paul Lucas, Health Minister: “Queensland health staff relied on people getting paid the big money to sort this out, it hasn’t happened and this is about fixing it.”
But the approach isn’t good enough for those on the Opposition benches today their leader called for Cabinet ministers to get a realistic view of the situation.
John Paul Langbroek, Opposition Leader: “We are calling for Anna Bligh, Paul Lucas and ministers to forego their pay this fortnight.”
He promised that his team would follow suit.
Claiming it was the Cabinet’s responsibility to concentrate efforts on ending health workers’ concerns.
John-Paul Langbroek, Opposition Leader: “If the Premier and deputy premier were to forego their pay it would certainly galvanise their mind into fixing the problem.”
Mr. Lucas labelled the request as a ‘stunt’ which would have no effect.
Paul Lucas, Health Minister: “All I’m saying is let’s knuckle down and fix this problem, rather than offering stunts.”
Thousands of workers have received little or no pay since a new payroll system was introduced in March.
Sunshine Coast nurse David Thornton is one of the many left severely underpaid.
He received just eight hours pay for a fortnight, despite working seventy-eight hours.
David Thornton, Nurse: “If it was Woolworths the doors would be closed, they’d have all gone home.”
With no real indication of when this problem will be fixed. Payday this Wednesday for Queensland health workers could be the start of another frustrating and painful fortnight ahead.
It will now be up to IT specialists flying in from Canada to try to get these problems sorted.
Ashleigh Elliott, QUT News