Unions warn of regional wipe-out
REGIONAL communities are at risk of "disappearing off the map" if the State Government's widespread job cuts continue, unions warn.
The Darling Downs would loose 40 public servants as a result of Police Minister Jack Dempsey's decision to close the regional correction centre, south west of Toowoomba.
Mr Dempsey, on Tuesday, said 40 full-time staff employed at the correction centre would be relocated or offered redundancy.
The move and the predicted flow-on effect for the regional area have sparked concern with public service union, Together.
Union secretary Alex Scott said the job losses for the Darling Downs, teamed with job losses in Mount Isa, raised real questions about the viability of those communities.
"If you pull out five or 10 public sector workers, whether they be in rail or QBuild or RoadTek in relation to the blue collar workforce, that starts to affect the local businesses in relation to the viability of local shops," he said.
"But also, if you have those people then leave, you have those people take their kids out of school so the schools then drop and then loose school teachers and support staff.
"A number of those places are at a tipping point already because of the migration to the coast through population changes and a number of those places are only holding on because of the public sector workforce.
"If you take out the workforce you loose half the town and you will be left with half the metropolitan centres."
The union's dire prediction comes after a series of job cutbacks across the regional public sector.
Together union estimates half of the 3500 jobs axed on June 29 - dubbed black Friday - were from regional areas.
Premier Campbell Newman, while on a visit to communities in south-west Queensland on Tuesday, told reporters he was working very hard to make sure cuts occurred only in central bureaucracies.
"It is not to say that, sadly, there won't be some in the regions as well, but that is something that we want to minimise," he told the ABC.
Mr Scott called on Western Queensland politicians, at a state, federal and local level, to fight for the protection of jobs in their electorates.
"...on the basis of not only are they going to be loosing services and jobs like they do on the coastal strip, but there are real questions about the long-term viability of those communities if they loose public sector employment and we will actually see communities disappear off the map if those jobs and services are lost," he said.
"The government needs to give a guarantee they will consult and give veto rights to western MPs before they cut jobs and services in those locations."