Unions condemn Newman's plan to cut 20,000 public service jobs

June 18, 2012

The Queensland Council of Unions released the statement below on June 19.

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The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) has strongly condemned today’s announcement that Premier Campbell Newman may cut up to 20,000 jobs from the public service.

QCU President John Battams says cutting so many permanent and temporary public sector jobs would take billions out of the state economy and have a huge impact throughout Queensland.

“Today’s announcement that 20,000 temporary public sector jobs could be cut will send shockwaves through the Queensland community, from the South East corner and right up through regional Queensland,” Battams said.

“Preliminary calculations show that the announcement could mean between 350-500 jobs cut each from regional centres like Townsville, Cairns and Toowoomba. Those numbers equate to real people, with real families and real mortgages to pay.

“In our view, the cuts are unnecessary and reactionary. Now is not the time to slash such a huge amount of jobs from around our state.

“The QCU is now seeking independent advice on Costello’s report, which led to today’s announcement. We view it as being unnecessarily pessimistic and seriously dangerous to the future of Queensland.”

Battams said the LNP government needed to take a measured view of how Queensland uses debt to grow.

“Much of the current debt was used to build long overdue infrastructure like schools, roads, bus ways, bridges and hospitals. It has been absolutely necessary for the future of the state,” he said

“Queenslanders need jobs and employment to survive, they need schools and hospitals and skilled people to make sure they are run efficiently, they need workers spending to power healthy regional economies.”

Working off ABS figures on statistical region populations, regional areas may lose millions annually if 20,000 public sector jobs are cut. Estimations are:

Wide Bay / Burnett - $97 million a year out of the local economy
Gold Coast - $170 million a year out of the local economy
Darling Downs – $78 million a year out of the local economy
Sunshine Coast - $108 million a year out of the local economy
Far North - $90 million a year out of the local economy
Brisbane - $700 million a year out of the local economy

“Queensland’s two-speed economy means some of these regional areas already have above average jobless rates,” Battams said.

The QCU represents the interests of all workers in Queensland, including more than 270,000 union members.

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