‘Lives lost for the sake of a budget saving?’

October 29, 2010

The campaign against savage cuts to public services in the recent South Australian budget is gaining momentum. More than 10,000 unionists rallied in Victoria Square on October 26 and marched through lunchtime crowds to Parliament House.

Nurses, prison officers and firefighters are among the many sectors angry at the cuts, which will cost up to 4000 jobs and affect vital services.

The following day, hundreds protested at Parliament House against cuts of $850,000 to the health budget, which threaten the viability of country hospitals at Keith, Moonta and Ardrossan.

Greens state MP Tammy Franks told the crowd: “Lives could be lost for the sake of a budget saving that amounts to little more than a few of [Labor Treasurer] Kevin Foley’s phone bills.

“It would be better to start off by cutting the $22,000 Foley phone bill, which I’m sure didn’t save any lives, except perhaps his political life.” The rally followed a meeting in Keith the previous week, at which 1000 expressed concern and anger about the future of their hospital.

Meanwhile, Australian Education Union protests over the government’s plan to axe adult high school re-entry programs have forced a backdown from education minister Jay Weatherill.

He announced on October 27 that “all those adults who are seeking to complete high school will be supported in future”, said the Advertiser.

The Public Service Association is challenging the state budget in the Industrial Relations Commission. Protests are planned outside Foley’s Port Adelaide office at 12.30pm on November 3 and outside the ALP state conference on November 27.

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