Michelle Lensink

Health Department Flexitime

 I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Industrial Relations.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: On Tuesday 10 April, the health minister announced that he would scrap flexitime for all health workers at the level of ASO6 or higher and said that other departments could follow. The head of the Public Service union, Jan McMahon, promptly threatened legal action, saying that the cancellation of flexitime would violate health workers' enterprise bargaining agreements. My questions are:

1. Has the minister sought legal advice on whether the cancellation of flexitime will indeed violate the EBAs; if so, what is that advice?

2. Has the minister been advised by any other minister of their intentions on whether to keep flexitime in their respective departments?

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (14:31): I thank the honourable member for her question. There have been discussions with Public Service workplace relations, and these are ongoing between the Department of Health and SA Health. So, in answer to the question, there are discussions going on regarding flexitime. I do not want to prejudice those discussions, but there are discussions going on; so don't worry about that.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Ms Lensink has a supplementary deriving from the answer.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:32): Yes, indeed, Mr President. In any of those discussions, has the issue of a violation of enterprise bargaining been raised?

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (14:32): I have had discussions with various members of the PSA and the public sector workplace relations. These discussions are ongoing, and they are also in confidence and confidential. I can assure you that it's all in hand, so feel confident that it is all being looked after.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:32): I have a further supplementary question—

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: —which may or may not arise out of the answer—

The PRESIDENT: Let's hope so.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: —because it did not actually ask about his discussions with the union; it was actually his departmental advice. Can the minister provide information on that?

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (Minister for Industrial Relations, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (14:32): There are ongoing discussions regarding this, so I am not about to sit here and talk about it in parliament when the discussions I have with all parties are in confidence.

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