Shorten 'shamed' over Centrelink job cuts
Workplace relations minister Bill Shorten faced cries of “shame” from union delegates on August 29, when he tried to score political points by praising workers his government had just sacked.
At the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) annual leaders conference in Sydney, Shorten commended Centrelink social workers for supporting grieving families following the 2009 Victorian bushfires and last year's Queensland floods.
After his speech, CPSU national secretary Nadine Flood told the conference federal Labor had just axed almost 10% of Centrelink's 700 social workers in its drive for a budget surplus.
Flood said the government would reduce the number of social workers meeting people face-to-face, because "they reckon you can just do social work over the phone".
Unions say SA hospital cuts could kill
South Australian health unions say cuts to staff and budgets recommended by consultants will risk patient lives.
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) and the Public Service Association say that patient death rates will rise if the foreshadowed cuts are implemented.
A University of Newcastle report, released by the unions, said South Australia actually has one of the most efficient health systems in the nation.
ANMF state secretary Elizabeth Dabars said evidence internationally and nationally shows "if you reduce staff numbers and skills mix you will increase your mortality and morbidity rates".
The ANMF have released recommendations as an alternative to the consultant report, including opening pilot nursing convalescent units and nurse practitioner primary care clinics. The ANMF also wants to put an end to the practice of patients being “parked” in medical assessment units for days at a time because hospitals are full.
News and Fairfax gutting Australian media
News Ltd announced a further 80 job cuts on September 4, bringing the combined sackings from News and Fairfax over the last three months to 700.
"That's about one in seven journalists working on newspapers or their related online services," said Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance secretary Christopher Warren.
At the Courier Mail in Brisbane, staff were told 30-35 journalists would be cut. Subediting would be outsourced to publishing business Pagemasters.
Warren said the cuts were "an enormous loss in the amount of resources that the Australian community relies on to find out what is going on in the world".