Business

Regional workers fear Newman axe

Queensland Premer Campbell Newman
Queensland Premer Campbell Newman

THE State Government has served up a hearty dose of job insecurity to more than 40,000 public servants who work in regional areas of Queensland.

These regions have being left in the dark as the Government threatens major job cuts across the state - but refuses to say where or how many.

But it's the 6704 non-frontline workers who will find themselves in the crosshairs of the government's aggressive job cut managers.

The government estimated that one-quarter of the 1970 job cuts - 492 in total - announced this week from the Department of Transport and Main Roads would come from regional Queensland.

A spokesperson for Transport Minister Scott Emerson said specific regional numbers would not be released until the department finished discussing cuts with staff.

The Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Wide Bay, in particular, may face public service cuts despite having higher unemployment than the state average.

The government repeatedly has said its focus was on putting the scalpel to those surplus workers in Brisbane, but conceded regional areas would not be immune.

Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams said there would be pain for the public service's regional hubs.

"Communities such as Rockhampton, that are major bases for public service departments in regional areas, will be hard hit," Mr Battams said. "That has a knock-on effect to all small business owners.

"In relation to the Sunshine Coast, it's the multiplier effect of throwing people out of work in a depressed area economically."

Mr Battams said to put the more than 7000 job cuts already made by the state government in perspective, the sackings that shocked the mining industry during the 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis were estimated at 5500.

Mr Battams said if the government reached beyond its target of cutting 20,000 jobs, the consequences would be worse than those seen in the mining industry that sent panic through parts of regional Queensland.

A spokesman for Noosa MLA Glen Elmes, who doubles as Minister assisting the Premier, denied the 20,000, saying there was no target figure.

"As the final number of public servants to be affected isn't known, it's impossible to identify what percentage might come from specific regions or regional areas generally," he said. "The Premier has told all ministers to look closely at staff levels within 300 metres of their ministerial offices."

Mr Elmes is yet to say if areas with higher unemployment would be exempt from job cuts.

Previously, Premier Campbell Newman has repeatedly stated the government has 20,000 public servants it cannot afford.

REGIONAL BREAKDOWN:
Non-front-line public service staff per area (unemployment % per area):

  • Gold Coast: 1242 (6.6%)
  • Sunshine Coast: 957 (5.9%)
  • Wide Bay (Gympie, Maryborough, Bundaberg): 1166 (7.7%)
  • Darling Downs: 1293 (4.5%)
  • Fitzroy (Gladstone, Rockhampton, Blackwater): 1290 (5.5%)
  • Mackay: 546 (4.3%)

Queensland unemployment rate is 5.5

Topics:  job cuts, public servants, queensland government, regional queensland


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