Unions to launch CQ election campaign at Rocky restaurant
REPRESENTATIVES from the Queensland Council of Unions will gather at CocoBrew in Rockhampton tonight to launch their Central Queensland state election campaign and to hear from union members; although in advance the QCU positioned itself in opposition to an LNP government.
The focus of the union movement leading up to October 31 will be on the economic importance of secure jobs.
Union organisers will also listen to workers’ priorities this evening, expecting the coronavirus pandemic to permeate the discussion.
Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford said the risks of a casual workforce had become evident during the COVID-19 crisis and could hamper the state’s economic recovery.
“It is estimated more than a third of Australian workers are now in casual or insecure employment, without paid leave entitlements,” he said.
“Casualisation creates financial insecurity for central Queensland workers and their communities.
“Workers need secure jobs with decent conditions to plan their future.”
Mr Clifford said the next government had an opportunity to rebuild the economy by investing in people and infrastructure.
“The last LNP government cut nearly 200 health jobs from this region, as well as trades and transport jobs,” he said.
“The biggest risk to our state and economy is if a government starts cutting jobs and slashing services.
“Austerity is not the way forward for Queensland.”
Unions are going after the Rockhampton and Keppel electorates specifically to promote a worker-first recovery from the pandemic.
“If we invest in our people and grow our economy, we will be in the best place to set up our communities for the future,” Mr Clifford said.
“Governments also need to invest and train our young people so that we have the skills we need for the future.”
Mr Clifford said workers were concerned that a potential LNP government would wind back recent legislation that protected workers and their families.
“Under new laws, deliberately underpaying your workers is now a criminal offence,” he said.
“Negligent bosses who operate unsafe workplaces where a worker dies can now be jailed for industrial manslaughter.
“And labour hire firms must now be licensed, which is weeding out those dodgy operators who exploit workers.”
“These are important laws to protect workers that must be maintained.”
LNP leader Deb Frecklington responded that in fact, the LNP has a “strong economic plan for Central Queensland to create more local high paying jobs, supercharge the regions and boost the resources sector”.
“Before coronavirus, Queensland had the worst unemployment rate in the country under Labor, and now nearly 200,000 Queenslanders are out of work,” she said.
“An LNP Government I lead will build the New Bradfield Scheme, four-lane the Bruce Highway from Curra to Cairns, build new dams like Urannah Dam and deliver Rookwood Weir, reduce water costs by 20 per cent for SunWater irrigators, and slash regional electricity bills by $300 by ending Ergon’s monopoly in the regions.
“The LNP will support manufacturing jobs with a no-new-tax guarantee, a $20 million Built-in-Queensland initiative, less red-tape, lower energy costs and direct investment to secure manufacturing jobs.”
Ms Frecklington rejected the suspicion that her government would repeal certain legislation.
“The LNP supported wage theft laws and will not be repealing them,” she said.
“There will be no new taxes and no forced redundancies under an LNP Government.”