1,000 Australia's health workers protest over pay dispute

19:07, October 07, 2010      

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About 1000 health professionals in Australian Queensland State staged an angry protest on Thursday outside the state's Parliament House in Brisbane for better pay.

The health workers rejected the state government's 2.5 percent- a-year pay rise offer over three years.

Health practitioners, including psychologists, physiotherapists, radiographers and scientists from Queensland's public hospitals including Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba and Dalby hospitals stopped work and rallied outside Parliament House at noon on Thursday.

Spokesman of Australia's Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union, Gary Bullock, told reporters at the protest the government was trying to force through a low wage offer that's below inflation.

He said combined with cuts to conditions, many health professionals would defect to better-funded health systems interstate.

Health Minister Paul Lucas told parliament on Thursday morning that Queensland health workers were the country's best paid, earning more than their colleagues in the states of New South Wales and Victoria.

"Our health practitioners are the highest paid health practitioners in the nation," Lucas said.

Queensland Public Sector Union general secretary Alex Scott said this was the largest protest in five years and the campaign had only just started.

He said protests would continue to the next state election if needed.



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