GOVERNMENT NOT MEETING TEST
ON ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT
12 October 2023
When the Malinauskas State Government came to power in March 2022, there was some optimism that this would be an opportunity for doctors to work constructively with a new Government on negotiating Enterprise Agreements.
SASMOA’s previous experience with such negotiations has been to encounter delay after delay and, to be frank, a bargaining approach that has not displayed best endeavours by bureaucrats from the Department for Health and Wellbeing (DHW) and the Attorney-General’s Department.
The first real opportunity to test whether this would change under the new Government has been with the Clinical Academics Enterprise Agreement.
The Government is not meeting the test.
The Clinical Academics Enterprise Agreement covers 75 senior doctors in SA Health. The current Agreement expired on 31 March 2021. That’s 30 months ago.
SASMOA has been forced to take the Government to the SA Employment Tribunal to contest the lack of progress in negotiations – a lack of progress which flies in the face of not just common courtesy and economic sense, but also seemingly in the face of direct commitments from the Premier.
Those commitments include an election commitment to employ at least an additional four Clinical Academics above then current numbers, and a commitment to establish a Working Group regarding the future Clinical Academic workforce with an emphasis on the importance of that workforce, with SASMOA to be kept in the loop. Workforce planning is a key part of the Enterprise Agreement.
The bureaucrats from DHW and the Attorney-General’s Department seem to think they can simply ignore the Premier’s promises.
On 27 September SASMOA wrote to the Attorney-General Mr Kyam Maher, copying in the Premier and the Minister for Health and Wellbeing, seeking clarity regarding the State Government’s position. A response was requested by last week, but the State Government has failed to respond or provide a position.
Negotiations for the new Salaried Medical Officers Enterprise Agreement (SMOEA) commence in August next year. The SMOEA covers approximately 4,000 public sector doctors.
If the current State Government representatives can’t resolve an Enterprise Agreement for 75 doctors in a timely and respectful fashion, it seems troubling times could be ahead when the renegotiation of an Agreement covering 4,000 doctors commences.
We are asking all public sector doctors to send a message regarding their dissatisfaction with the bureaucracy’s disrespectful approach by sending a short email along the following lines to the Attorney-General.
As a public sector doctor I am dismayed by the Government’s inability to progress the Clinical Academics Enterprise Agreement. To me this failure is demonstrating a lack of basic respect that is quite troubling. I am asking you to intervene with your Department to ensure a timely process is undertaken and an agreement is reached quickly that meets the commitments made by your Government.
The Attorney-General’s email address is: