Health Minister Roger Cook at the HSUWA AGM 2017

Wednesday 17 Jan 2018

We asked the Deputy Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook to come and say a few words at the union’s annual general meeting.

Roger started by acknowledging the importance of union membership, he is a union member, and believes that unions play a crucial role in bringing balance to our workplaces.

Roger went on to talk about several issues, the first of which, privatization and permanency, were raised by union members.

On privatization the Minister was unequivocal saying “We also said we would stop the privatisation of existing public sector services and where possible and economically beneficial to do so bring services back into the public sector.” By way of reinforcement, Roger answered a question from the meeting by saying ‘they will privatize over my dead body’.

On the issue of permanent employment, he said the previous government saw a proliferation of insecure employment arrangements which was a terrible way to manage a workforce.  He said the McGowan Government have been working on a criteria to convert employees to permanency and that he expects consultation with the HSUWA to commence in the first quarter of 2018.

Roger was also keen to  ensure that staff feel valued, he has held a number of staff forums and will be doing the first system wide employee engagement survey. 

The Minister went on to talk about how change should be managed as an inclusive process , that staff should be able to raise issues and be listened to.

This lead to the Minister’s comments on the progress of the ‘Sustainable Health Review’. Roger again said the review is not about cost cutting ..”It is about identifying better, more sustainable ways of delivering people-centered, high-quality health services to our growing population.”

The consultation process began in August 2017 with over 320 submissions received. (The HSUWA submission is here and HSUWA Secretary Dan Hill is a member of the Workforce and Culture Working Group.)

The interim report is due in February which will be followed by further consultation including a specific staff survey across the WA health system, concluding in November 2018.  

Following the Minister’s speech there was a robust Q&A session followed by the Minister presenting the various member awards, and staying for a drink and bite to eat.

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