Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. AAP

Union slams sell-off supporters

THE ALP'S Capricornia delegates who backed Premier Anna Bligh's push to sell state assets to fill a budget black hole have come under fire from a CQ union leader.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union CQ district organiser Craig Allen said Rockhampton was set to be one of the hardest hit centres from the Premier's controversial decision to sell $15 million worth of state assets to drive the Government's jobs and infrastructure program.

Mr Allen has slammed the four Capricornia delegates who voted for the Premier, saying they had gone against the wishes of the region's rank and file members and in the process hurt the futures of hundreds of rail workers in the region.

Four of the seven Capricornia delegates backed the Government at Sunday's state ALP conference.

“It's my understanding the rank and file members of the party are gob-smacked,” Mr Allen said.

After Sunday's conference, he vowed to continue campaigning against the move.

He showed no enthusiasm for Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten's pledge to work closely with union leaders as the sell-off was pushed forward.

Yesterday Member for Keppel Paul Hoolihan, who was one of the four delegates who backed the Premier, confirmed the 4-3 Capricornia vote.

However, Mr Hoolihan didn't accept the assertion that any particular area was going to be worst off.

“I think it a little precipitant to say who will be hardest hit,” Mr Hoolihan said.

“Until we see the final proposals, how can anyone say what the final result will be?”

He said taking an inflammatory approach wasn't the answer.

Each delegate had agonised over the decision.

Delegates are elected by members of the party within the federal seat of Capricornia.

“How could anyone with an ounce of economic knowledge not realise this was a very difficult decision?” Mr Hoolihan said.

“This was a decision that had to be made.”

He said the closeness of the delegates' vote was an acknowledgement of how tough the decision was.

Despite the differences he said members could continue to move forward.

“We have worked together for many years and a lot of the people involved are friends,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Allen reiterated his concern about moves to close the 5.8km rail track between Biloela and the main line to Gladstone in November.

The Morning Bulletin was unable to contact the Capricornia delegates yesterday and decided not to name them.

The paper invites each to contact The Bully by calling reporter Adam Wratten on 4930 4281 to have a say on the issue.



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