Wednesday 22nd August 2007
NSWNA 62nd Annual Conference
How nurses can make a difference in this year’s federal election was the focus of the NSWNA 62nd Annual Conference. Held 18-20 July at Randwick Racecourse, 420 delegates gathered for three days of inspiring presentations and workshops which highlighted the election choices for nurses, and armed delegates with the knowledge and skills to stand up for the rights of fellow nurses and workers.
Standing up for our rights in a challenging environment
In his address at this year’s Annual Conference, NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes said that protecting nurses from the impact of Lamp has dominated the work of the union throughout the year.
‘A significant change in how our organisation works was required to respond to this new, hostile environment and we undertook a restructure and created two new teams to better serve members – the Strategic Industrial and Bargaining Team and the Member Organising Enforcement Team.
‘Preparing for bargaining in the aged care sector has been our biggest challenge over the past 12 months. But I am confident we have made the changes and committed the resources to put us in the best possible position to undertake these tasks in the face of the threats and challenges posed by Lamp.
‘At last year’s conference delegates endorsed the Nurse Power fund to help us fight these laws. This enabled us to develop a powerful campaign against the IR laws during the state election. Using real nurses to express our concerns about the changes in conditions proposed by the Liberal party, the coverage was far-reaching through the use of television, print media and billboards.
‘Throughout the year nurses have also benefited from significant industrial wins that have seen achievements in the areas of pay and conditions for nurses in all sectors. These include the rollout of the final 4% payrise delivered under the Public Health System Award, increases in the amount and eligibility of the Continuing Education Allowance for nurses in the public health system, increases in the nursing home NAPSA, and the delivery of pay rises for nurses working in private hospitals that bargained with the NSWNA last year.’
Brett congratulated nurses for their role in standing up and protesting against the IR laws at their workplaces, in their communities and at rallies throughout the year. ‘Nurses have made their voices heard despite obstacles and the public denouncing by some of the country’s politicians. By standing up for the conditions they have all worked so hard for, nurses will be able to continue delivering the highest standard of care to their patients.’