Workers protest NT government cuts

About 400 people rallied outside NT parliament on February 12, the first sitting day for 2013, to protest the Country Liberal Party's (CLP) service cuts, job losses and price hikes.
 
The CLP came to power in August, promising to decrease the deficit but pledging  "Your job is safe" to concerned public servants. By December, when the government's mini-budget was released, that promise was broken and it was revealed that 600 jobs would be scrapped.
 
A large contingent of firefighters joined the protest, raising concern about the near-closure of the Humpty Doo fire station; six professional firefighters will lose their jobs. The entire rural area will now be serviced by volunteers and the Palmerston fire and rescue service, which can take more than 20 minutes to get to Humpty Doo. 
 
One firefighter told the rally: "There is now less protection [in the rural area] even while the population is exploding. We are endangering lives to save money, and firefighters are worried we'll be the ones watching people die."
 
Kay Densley, the Community and Public Sector Union's NT director, commented on the lack of women in the new ministry and upper public service, and condemned the decision to cut the Office of Women's Policy down to one staff.
 
Larrakia Nation CEO Ilana Eldridge slammed the “demonisation of society’s most vulnerable citizens — first through federal policies and now with the CLP scrapping night patrol”.
 
There were also speakers from the Nurses' Federation and Unions NT.
 
Premier Terry Mills came out of parliament to address the rally, but was drowned out with shouts of "CLP: Can't be trusted!" The Maritime Union of Australia contingent, and others, turned their backs on him.

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