Overstretched ACT Radiation Therapists walk off the job

  • Published December 18, 2023

Canberra’s radiation therapists took action this year, walking off the job to demand a competitive pay increase to keep skilled professionals in the Territory.

Radiation Therapists in the ACT can earn up to 47 per cent more - just by moving to Queensland.

Poor pay, which doesn’t reflect the varied and technical job radiation therapists play, has seen an exodus from the nation’s capital. HSU members estimate about one third of the team at Canberra Hospital alone have left for states where pay is better, in the past three years.

HSU members walked off the job in September and then again in November, saying they just wanted to be recognised for skillset and stop the staff drain to better paying states, because it was having a negative effect on the accessibility of vital cancer services for ACT patients.

“Radiation therapists are not ‘nice-to-have’, they are a must have – radiation therapy is not something you want to leave to good luck,” HSU secretary Gerard Hayes said.

“These workers are highly skilled and absolutely critical to patient care, they deserve respect and competitive salary.”

After HSU members took their first action, telling the ACT government parity with Queensland was vital, the Territory government put a low-ball offer on the table that would still leave ACT radiation therapists approximately 20 per cent – or $30,000 PA – behind Queensland therapists.

Members have unanimously rejected this offer and are continuing to fight.