Premier Newman under fire for sixth trip abroad in two years

THE Queensland's Premier has come under fire for jetting off on his sixth trip abroad since winning the top job two years ago while the doctor contract crisis continued.

Premier Campbell Newman will join other state premiers and Prime Minister Tony Abbot next Monday in Beijing for Australia Week in China.

He also will visit Korea and other Chinese cities during the 11-day trip.

Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Premier, who has recently returned from the United States, should stay and run the state.

"Here is a Premier who's only been back in the country for 20 days and he's about to jet set off again on a first-class flight to Beijing," she said.

"This is a Premier who should be solving the doctor's crisis. He should be staying at home and sorting it out.

"We are in a doctors crisis, we are concerned about doctors leaving our public health system and he is going away for another two weeks."

Ms Palaszczuk - who is about to embark on a regional driving tour including Gladstone, Bundaberg and Gympie - said the Premier could send his deputy or treasurer, who is actually the trade minister, on the trade mission instead.

The Premier's Department was quick to point out that former Labor premier Anna Bligh went on seven overseas trade missions during her last term in power, between October 2009 and November 2011.

Treasurer Tim Nicholls said Ms Palaszczuk was attempting to score some cheap political points at the expense of Queensland's reputation as an export economy.

"Does the Opposition Leader seriously think Queensland should not be represented on a trade mission being led by the Prime Minister to some of the state's most important trading partners?" he said.

"It's outrageous to suggest the Premier should ignore the market opportunities for Queensland in a mission that takes in our some of our major trading partners including China and South Korea."

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg told 4BC he believed all the doctor contract issues had been dealt with after an amendment to the Hospital and Health Boards Bill passed through parliament overnight Thursday.

He said the unfettered power of the Director-General or Public Services Commissioner to change employment conditions and terms for employees for the past 15 years had been removed.

Mr Springborg said the only way the contract could now be altered was if they wanted a pay rise or to change superannuation terms and conditions.

"Doctors were concerned that with this power in place, if they move to individual contracts, the Director-General who had this power would be able to determinately alter their contract against them," he said.

"By and large the big issues have been dealt with, it's now about building the confidence of doctors that this addressees their concerns."

Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton told 4BC the matter was "so close" to being resolved but "we've got a couple of hiccups".

He said they now needed to ensure doctors were in a position where this could never happen again.

"This had been a really harrowing proposal," he said.

"We need to make sure whatever we lock in for the future locks in a system where we don't get to this head to head problem."

Doctors have been told they must sign their new contracts by April 30.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney will be acting Premier during Mr Newman's absence.



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