Ms O'CONNOR question to PREMIER, Mr ROCKLIFF
You must be aware of the enormous unsustainable pressure public sector workers across agencies such as health, education and child safety face each day. You know positions go unfilled for months, stress leave claims are increasing, and we are losing some of our most talented and dedicated workers to better jobs on better pay in mainland states and overseas. With cost of-living and housing costs soaring, Tasmania is also losing its competitive advantage in attracting public servants from interstate.
At lunchtime today, the Community and Public Sector Union put forward a sensible cohesive plan to better support, attract and retain the public sector workers Tasmanians need now and in the future.
Premier, we heard that the CPSU and its members meet only brick walls when they offer solutions and ask to talk. Why will you not sit down with union representatives of public sector workers to better support and strengthen the State Service?
Mr Speaker, I thank the member for Clark her question. I will begin by thanking all our very hard-working public service across all departments for the work they have undertaken on behalf of all Tasmanians, particularly in the challenging times as we have had in recent years with the pandemic. I acknowledge and admire the enormous effort they have put in to keep Tasmanians safe.
We are very mindful, as a government, that we are supporting our public service, particularly at the front line, to continue to support Tasmanians. We have employed more teachers in our schools than any previous government; when it comes to the health front line, more nurses, more frontline health staff than ever before. We are supporting our public service by investing in our public service and more people.
As I have said on many occasions, we are committed to negotiating with all unions in the upcoming bargaining round in good faith to deliver real wage increases for our workforce. We acknowledge the need for wage increases and we acknowledge the cost of-living pressures, as I have spoken about already today. We acknowledge recruitment and retention issues faced by some sectors of our workforce. There will be wage increases resulting from this bargaining period. Of course, wage increases must be reasonable, affordable and sustainable for our state, as I am sure you would appreciate, so we can continue to invest in essential frontline services, so we can continue supporting Tasmanians into an affordable home.
These are all areas our Government is focused on. One of those is negotiating in good faith with our hardworking public sector.