Several hundred workers from the Queensland Department of Communities rallied in Queens Park on June 13 to oppose job cuts in the sector. The unionists condemned the state Liberal-National government's plan to sack about 1300 temporary contract workers employed in the communities area.
The state government's special audit team, headed by former Liberal Party federal treasurer Peter Costello, issued its interim report on June 15, claiming the previous Bligh Labor government had financed almost all its infrastructure spending from state debt.
Premier Campbell Newman is set to use the report to launch a huge attack on the public sector, including thousands more job cuts and further outsourcing and privatisation of public assets.
This follows Newman's announcement on May 28 of a big sell-off of government buildings in the CBD to finance the construction of new offices – dubbed "Newman Towers" – to be leased back from private developers at great public cost.
A Queensland public servant told Green Left Weekly that a "reign of terror" now operates in his department, with every worker under threat of redundancy. The result is that short-staffing means more work for the remaining staff, and reduced services to the public.
Queensland public service workers are now preparing for a "winter of discontent," and a major campaign to defend jobs and conditions over coming months.