Unions confront the Premier
CHANTS of "shame Campbell shame" greeted Queensland Premier Campbell Newman when he arrived at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre on Sunday afternoon.
More than 100 members of the Together Queensland public service union gathered at the centre where the State Government's Community Cabinet deputations were held.
The protest against job cuts to government departments such as health and education was led by the union's Mackay and district organiser Dolph Lossberg.
"We have people here this afternoon that are about to lose their jobs. We need to see this government and say, "what are your plans?" You cannot sack public service workers and still supply services to the public," Mr Lossberg said.
Mr Newman gave union members a wave on his way past, as did Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan, whom Mr Lossberg criticised for not returning emails or answering calls. "This government is trying to save money so they won't give Costigan a computer or a phone. Give Costo a phone - maybe that should be our war cry," Mr Lossberg told the crowd.
Mr Costigan, who obviously has a computer and a phone, said he wasn't aware of these comments at the time, but stated he was happy to meet with union representatives, "anytime, anywhere".
"It's clear that the union organisations are somewhat reluctant to work with the government, which, in the North is disappointing because the vast majority of public service cuts we're talking about are confined to the Southeast corner," Mr Costigan said. Nonetheless, union member and education worker Deborah Green said cuts to travel budgets were already having an effect on regions such as this.
"There are some services you just can't do over the phone," she said.