CQ's job security fears raised by 'Nightmare Express' bus
AS THE election campaign winds into its final week, assurances have been sought that sweeping job cuts wouldn't take place post-election in Central Queensland.
Tomorrow the Queensland Labor Party will launch 'The Cuts Express' bus blitz that will travel up the Queensland Coast over the final week of the election campaign.
Christened 'The Newman-Nicholls Nightmare Express', the bus includes graphic stark reminders of the savage cuts and chaos that occurred under the previous LNP government.
ALP Campaign Spokesperson and Minister for Health Cameron Dick said the Newman-Nicholls Cuts Express tour will literally drive home the stark choice confronting Queenslanders in this final week of the election campaign.
"We've taken our message to the road and are asking Queenslanders to help stop the impending LNP-Hanson coalition of cuts and chaos," Mr Dick said.
"It's no secret regional Queensland was hit hard by the savage cuts to jobs and front-line services of the Newman-Nicholls LNP government.
"Sadly I think this week's bus tour will certainly bring to the surface all of those devastating memories for many regional Queenslanders."
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said fears have remained in the community since the devastating cuts made by Campbell Newman government, during which time as Queensland Treasurer, LNP leader Tim Nicholls presided over the redundancies of 14,000 public servants throughout the state including 1,400 Central Queenslanders.
Mrs Lauga said the LNP candidate for Keppel Peter Blundell couldn't and wouldn't rule out another brutal assault on jobs and services if the LNP won the November 25 election.
"His refusal to rule out job cuts is the clearest indication from one of their own that life will be grim under Tim," Mrs Lauga said.
"Asked whether he would support local job cuts, the LNP's Keppel candidate refused to rule them out.
"All he could muster was to say 'Our commitment is to no forced redundancies'.
"That sends a shiver down the spine of everyone who remembers what happened last time Tim Nicholls was in charge."
Rockhampton's Queensland Council of Union Secretary Craig Allen said promises were flying in the lead up to this state election and with CQ community at a crossroads, it was time for a real commitment from the candidates to fight against any future job cuts.
He was concerned by reports that some candidates were using the usual political lines to avoid a real commitment when it comes to jobs for Rockhampton and Keppel.
"This community has been hurt before by job cuts and we deserve to know whether each and every candidate will put their commitment in writing and pledge to fight against any future cuts to jobs and the public service in our region," Mr Allen said.
"Some candidates have been quoted saying they promise "no forced redundancies" - but that is very different from guaranteeing no job cuts.
"I have been a union organiser long enough to know that is code for job cuts and asset sales."
When asked previously whether he could provide a guarantee the LNP government wouldn't repeat the massive job losses, LNP Candidate for Rockhampton Douglas Rodgers emphatically denied it would occur if they won government.
"There's been a very clear announcement by Tim Nicholls as leader that there will not be forced redundancies that there was under the Newman regime," Mr Rodgers said.
When assurances were sought previously from LNP candidate Peter Blundell regarding the cuts, he said, "the lesson needed to be learnt from what happened last time".
"There will be no forced redundancies under a Tim Nicholls led LNP government," Mr Blundell said.
"I do understand their concerns, I've been doing a lot of door knocking and I've heard those stories myself.
"I understand why people are so adamant about their anger, job losses are a huge thing, there's no doubt about that.
"The message has been a very clear one, and it's one that we've needed to learn but the response has been very definite as well."
The Morning Bulletin has approached both LNP candidates for CQ for comment today and their comments will be added to the story as they come to hand.
Highlights of The Cuts Express Tour bus tour.
- The Cuts Express Tour will cover 1,600km over the next 5 days and pass through approximately 50 electorates.
- The Cuts Express Tour has a target of speaking to 100,000 Queenslanders on the ground about the cuts choice at this election.
- It will be led by Campaign Spokesperson and Minister for Health, Cameron Dick, also being joined by other senior Government Ministers along the way
- Events will be held in local communities with victims of the past Newman-Nicholls cuts meeting the bus in every town.
- The bus is being funded by a micro-fundraising campaign, drawing on the support of Queenslanders who want to stop more LNP cuts.