New Nurse Levy condemned by Health Minister

Published Sunday, 16 February, 2014 at 03:03 PM

Minister for Health
The Honourable Lawrence Springborg

The Newman Government has condemned bosses at the Queensland Nurses Union for skimming $52 per annum out of the pay packets of nurses and midwives without their consent, to fund politically motivated rallies.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the LNP’s decision to award nurses and midwives significant pay increases since the change of government was designed to put more money into the pockets of nurses, not to put more money into union slush funds.

Mr Springborg said the levy imposed by union bosses would raise approximately $1.2 million each year from public sector nurses and midwives alone to be used for union activities to support the Labor party.

“The LNP is all about putting money into the pockets of our valued nurses, while the union bosses and Labor are about taking money out of their pockets,” Mr Springborg said.

“In two months’ time, nurses and midwives will receive their third 3.16 per cent annual pay increase since the LNP was elected to office.  This means nurses’ pay packets are almost 10 per cent greater than under Labor.

“We now have union bosses coming along and swiping another $52 per annum out of nurses’ pay packets without any consultation or approval from the nurses and midwives themselves.”

Mr Springborg said nurses and midwives across Queensland would be highly sceptical of the new fee to fund rallies.

“Nurses vividly remember how the bosses at the nurses’ union went missing in action when the former Labor Government failed to provide pay-packets to health workers as a result of the health payroll debacle,” he said.

“Nurses and midwives turned to the LNP for support and to help fight for emergency cash and emergency loans when their union bosses retreated into hiding instead of condemning the Labor Government’s lack of action.”

Mr Springborg said under the previous Labor Government, nurses and midwives went without pay for six weeks before the Queensland Nurses Union finally issued a media statement, only to then say that it wouldn’t be taking industrial action.

“If the union bosses didn’t think it was necessary to take industrial action when their members weren’t even getting a pay packet, what could be so pressing now that warrants a special additional fee if it isn’t a blatant ‘Help Labor at The Election Fund’,” he said.

[ENDS] 16 February 2014

Media Contact: Alexandra Foley 0419 794 294