Pay rise challenge

THE Tasmanian government faces several pay fights with public health employees this year, as it tries to adhere to a 2 per cent wages cap amidst a time of budget uncertainty.

The new state government is expected to front the Tasmanian Industrial Commission and the Supreme Court in coming months to appeal against pay rises awarded to 300 paramedics and 11 family child health nurses, and to challenge a long-running wages push from ``hundreds'' of salaried doctors.

At the same time, the government is negotiating the work value of about 500 senior nurses.

The Health and Community Services Union last week revealed the Labor government had spent more than $1 million on legal fees fighting the paramedic pay rise last year.

The new Liberal government will use the same law firm to appeal against the landmark 14.1 per cent wage increase to paramedics, but will use internal resources for the family child health nurses appeal and doctors' case.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation state secretary Neroli Ellis said the paramedic pay decision could potentially help the nurses' work value negotiations.

And Mrs Ellis said the commission's decision to reclassify 11 family child health nurses as specialists could set some precedent for another 100 pending cases, if it survived a state government appeal.

Meanwhile, the Australian Medical Association was back before the commission on Monday, continuing its two-year push to ``modernise'' the award for salaried doctors.

AMA state president Dr Tim Greenaway said he was confident the dispute would be resolved soon.

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