Employment program gets the chop

MORE than 140 public service workers who assist Queenslanders finding a job will be out of a job themselves under the State Government's latest jobs purge.

The Skilling Queenslanders for Work projects are state-wide employment and training opportunities for the disadvantaged and unemployed.

Projects are implemented around the state, including an indigenous employment program in Gladstone, a district state school leavers scheme in Rockhampton and a Lockyer Valley flood recovery volunteer program.

Education, Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek confirmed on Monday the state could not afford the $19 million program.

The program's 144 full-time equivalent staff will be offered voluntary redundancies, vacant positions within the department or placed on a deployment list to be placed in other governmental departments.

Mr Langbroek said the Skilling Queenslanders program was a duplication of a Federal Government initiative.

"Employment services are the responsibility of the Federal Government and given the diabolical economic damage caused by the Bligh Labor Government, we need to end this type of needless duplication," Mr Langbroek said.

"Queensland was the only state in the country that contributed to separate employment programs on top of those already in place by the Federal Government."

Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk criticised the LNP for slashing the jobs of people who help others secure jobs of their own.

"They are all designed to support people at risk of long-term unemployment either directly or through funds provided to community groups," she said.

"The programs cover disadvantaged people currently unemployed; teenagers at risk of losing contact with education or training; indigenous jobseekers' and Queenslanders with low literacy skills."

 

Public servants rally against cuts

QUEENSLAND will experience an unprecedented wave of industrial action next month if the State Government does not provide job security for a fearful public sector.

At a rally of public service supporters in Brisbane on Monday afternoon, Together Union secretary Alex Scott will reveal plans to launch 1000 industrial action ballots in the next few weeks in response to the State Government's job purge.

Mr Scott said the harm to Queenslanders as a result of the mass cuts was becoming "incalculable".

"...as the damage being done to those, not only who lost their jobs, but to those not knowing who will go and who won't," he said.

"There is no clarity and no transparency and it is feeding into the fear and anger."

Premier Campbell Newman has stated there were 20,000 public servants more than Queensland could afford and confirmed on Monday the public service fell by about 3000 full-time equivalents at the end of June.

Together union expects departments will be trimmed down between 5% and 20%.

The State Government tightened regulations around industrial action through legislation changes introduced earlier this year.

As a result of the controversial changes, unions need to apply to the Industrial Relations Commission to conduct protected industrial action and, if approved, the Electoral Commission of Queensland conducts a ballot of all members affected by the action.

If 50% of members agree to the action, it goes ahead within a month of the ballot being declared.

In an attempt to dodge the tedious bureaucratic roadblocks, Mr Scott said the union would lodge at least 1000 separate ballots for individual departments and offices, to maximise the ability for the government to listen to the public sector.

It is a step the government may not have see coming, he says.

"It is taking the legislation to the extreme," Mr Scott said.

Mr Newman said on Monday the number of public servants dropped partly due to the regular reduction of casual teachers at the end of the school term.

"It is impossible to give a completely accurate picture of the current size of the public service due to the shambolic state of the payroll and IT systems left by the former Labor Government, but this is the closest we can get," he said.

"In addition, these figures include the regular reduction of casual teachers that occurs at the end of a school term, while there are significant fluctuations in health staff numbers from fortnight to fortnight - meaning the total numbers could increase again within weeks."



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