'Draw the line! Stop the Cuts!'
By Graham Matthews
BRISBANE — "What we're hoping out of the rally against the budget on May 13 is that it will be a start" of a fight back, Claire Moore, Queensland state secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, told a press conference here on May 9.
The rally in King George Square, organised by a wide range of trade unions, community groups and political parties, will protest the next round of federal government attacks on living standards in the May 13 budget.
"What we're saying is, don't accept the budget. Ask questions", Moore said, pointing out that public anger at the 1996 federal budget took time to develop due to the media whitewash that accompanied it.
Expected cuts in child-care funding will have a massive effect on working parents, Moore said. "We know that child-care is going to receive a big cut. It will have the flow-on effect of child-care centres closing. People will lose work.
"That loss of income and loss of jobs will not be accurately reflected anywhere", Moore said, referring to the government's misuse of unemployment figures which ignore those who want to find work but live with a working partner.
"The mooted funding cut to public housing funding via Commonwealth funding to the states is likely to be around $200-$250 million", said Tracy Douglas from Queensland Shelter, the peak public housing tenants' organisation in Queensland.
The proposed cuts to public housing would simply be "transferring the cost of housing from one department to others" to provide support for those squeezed from the public housing system, Douglas said.
The effects of the 1996 budget cuts have not yet been fully felt, Moore said. Already cuts to legal aid have forced some community legal centres to close, and have led to huge disruptions in the Family Court.