Amendments offered to doctors in a bid to resolve the long-running contracts dispute have passed through Queensland parliament.
Government concessions made in the long-running dispute over senior doctors contracts have been passed in Queensland’s parliament.
The changes passed on Thursday night mean senior medical officers will be offered life-long contracts that can’t be varied to negatively affect doctors without an act of parliament.
It also limits the Queensland Health Director-General’s powers so directives can’t affect a doctor’s contract except when increased remuneration or improved benefits are offered.
However, the concessions may not be enough to resolve the dispute, with Assistant Health Minister Dr Chris Davies on Thursday threatening to resign if the dispute was not resolved by the April 30 contract deadline.
Dr Davis will also be challenged in his Stafford electorate by prominent Brisbane maxillofacial surgeon Dr Anthony Lynham, who announced he would be seeking Labor preselection over the issue.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg urged senior doctors to look closely at the new offer before the cut-off date.
“The parliament voted to expedite the passage of this bill this sittings, so that there can be no doubt among doctors that the government’s word on contracts is its bond,” he said in a statement.
Opposition health spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller said she offered further amendments to ensure doctors were not disadvantaged by contract changes, but they were rejected by the government’s massive majority.
“That shows the Newman government is not intent on settling disputes if it means watering down its own WorkChoices-style contracts,” she said.