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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Audit into Canberra Health Services pay system called for amidst internal investigation

The Canberra Liberals today pressed for an independent audit of the Canberra Health Services (CHS) pay system, following reports of staff being underpaid.

The call for an independent audit comes despite CHS and Shared Services, which manage the payroll for the 7,500 CHS staff, already investigating the matter.

Shadow Health Minister Vicki Dunne said junior doctors and wardsmen are “the victims of wage theft” at the Canberra Hospital.

“Hospital staff, especially junior doctors, are tired, sick and burnt out from working double shifts – up to 80 and 90 hours per week – in a highly stressful workplace.

“But, for a junior doctor to claim overtime is onerous, and administratively difficult to process. They know that they are regularly underpaid.”

ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said she was “really disappointed” with how the Canberra Liberals raised the matter.

“At the beginning of the week (Ms Dunne) put forward a motion for the Assembly that was simply about thanking our healthcare workers for the incredible job they have done during COVID-19, and that was something we could all get behind.

“At the 11th hour, she’s amended that motion to call for something that she’s never sought a briefing on, has never raised, and if she had sought a briefing, I could have let her know that these issues have been already raised with CHS.”

Ms Stephen-Smith reiterated that the issue of pay conditions within CHS is already under internal investigation.

“There is already an investigation underway, as there consistently is whenever a staff member or their union representative raises concerns about any pay and conditions, those concerns will be examined very carefully,” she said.

“When you have a staff of 7,500 people, with complex rosters, who work on public holidays, who work overtime, there are going to be instances where those things don’t all add up.

“We’re absolutely committed to ensuring that all staff across our services have appropriate pay and conditions and that they are treated fairly.

“We’re investing tens of millions of dollars in a new human resources information management system that will enable those roster systems and that payroll system to line up better, so that we have fewer of these errors,” she said.

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