Anti-cuts campaign momentum grows in Nth Qld

The campaign against the Liberal National Party Queensland government’s public sector cuts and suppression of alternative views is gathering momentum in the state’s Far North region.

The union Together has organised a rally in the Atherton Tablelands town of Mareeba on August 26. The rally was in response to measures such as mounting state public service job cuts that will reach 20,000 sackings, the legislative abolition of provisions in industrial agreements about consultation with workers, job security and workloads, and the withdrawal or refusal of funds to non-government organisations that even hint at political advocacy.

The Cairns Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) branch is organising another rally in the city, at 4.30pm in City Place, as part of the September 12 statewide day of action. It hopes to combine the forces of union and community members in opposition to the government’s action.

These developments were registered at a Politics in the Pub event on August 22. More than 30 people attended, including local union organisers and activists from the defunded Tenants Union.

They heard from Fred Morris, president of the Far North Queensland Tenants Advisory Group, and Neisha Keys, an executive member of the QCU branch. Morris highlighted the transfer of 6000 public housing residences from government ownership to the community sector.

He said the measure that would break existing tenancy agreements and will force many public housing tenants shifts to smaller dwellings or share houses. Keys spoke about the recent QCU statewide delegates and activist meeting and future rally plans.

In the discussion that followed several participants stressed the need for persistent struggle and the need to think about the politics of the campaign. Most of those attending pledged themselves to publicise the campaign.