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Workers fear job losses from asset sales

Chris Ison Rokcrally

AS LIGHT faded and busy traffic passed by Rockhampton's Central Park, union workers were determined the noise would not drown out their voices.

And although their chants may not have been quite united, their message was: don't sell state assets.

More than 70 people gathered yesterday afternoon to voice their opposition to the Newman Government's proposal to sell or lease some state assets.

Central Queensland is in the firing line with Stanwell Power Station for sale, Gladstone Port for lease and Ergon Energy to be privatised.

Speaking to The Morning Bulletin in the lead up to the rally, Secretary of The Services Union, Neil Henderson said the loss of these assets would have a major impact on the Rockhampton region.

"We think there's no reason to do it," Mr Henderson said.

"Queensland isn't in an economic crisis."

Mr Henderson said when companies were privatised, ongoing employment was minimal, with most jobs being contracted.

He said there would be a flow-on effect for the local community if workers lost their jobs.

In the case of Ergon Energy, Mr Henderson said there was no doubt power bills would increase.

Mr Henderson said the government should instead be focused on creating jobs.

People at the rally were addressed by Member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne and Labor's candidate for Keppel Brittany Lauga.

Mr Byrne said the government had not looked at any alternatives to asset sales.

"Their agenda hasn't changed one iota," he said.

Mr Byrne said Labor and the union movement would work very closely to take on a "frightening agenda".

"It's an agenda that's been deliberately constructed to facilitate the sale of major assets of this state," he said.

Topics:  asset sales union members



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