It’s ‘worse than Joh’ - says Rocky firies on State Govt

United voices national day of action - Public service rally in Rockhampton following the Campbell Newman budget announcements.
United voices national day of action - Public service rally in Rockhampton following the Campbell Newman budget announcements. Sharyn O'Neill

STATEMENTS made by Minister Jack Dempsey this month over a proposed pay rise for emergency service workers has caused a furore with Rockhampton firefighters, who have accused the Newman government as being more arrogant than the Bjelke-Petersen regime.

In a scathing attack on the Minister for Emergency Services, branch secretary for the Rockhampton Branch of the United Firefighters Union Queensland, Bruce Lawrie, claimed Queensland firefighters have been constantly ignored by the government.

"I personally have not seen such arrogance as this from any Queensland government during my career as a firefighter and that includes the Bjelke-Petersen years," he said.

The attack was sparked by statements made by Mr Dempsey in Parliament last week when Bill Byrne called on Mr Dempsey to increase the pay of the State's emergency services.

Mr Dempsey said the reason there had been no increase firefighter's wages was that the Firefighter Union had already rejected 2.7% pay rise.

Mr Lawrie criticised these claims, stating Mr Dempsey portrayal of events was not accurate.

"What Mr Dempsey has neglected to say is that associated with the rise, there was a list of conditions and agreements that would have eroded firefighters conditions and rights to an absolutely unacceptable level had we accepted," he said.

"We would in fact have been much worse off than accepting the so-called '2.7%' offered."

Mr Lawrie also said that the offer was not actually 2.7%, but rather a proposed increase of up to 2.7%

"Firefighters and ambulance officers deserve to be treated in a more dignified manner; after all we are the first to assist the public when called upon to do so," he said.

The Morning Bulletin contacted Mr Dempsey's office yesterday, but did not receive a response by the time of print.

Topics:  sir joh bjelke-petersen state government

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