Newman swings axe at Qld public service

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Newman swings axe at Qld public service

The new Qld premier, Campbell Newman, is set to take the axe to the state’s public servants as part of his cost-cutting reforms.

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The new Qld premier, Campbell Newman, is set to take the axe to the state’s public servants as part of his cost-cutting reforms.

Workers on temporary contracts are first in the firing line, with a freeze on extensions. Those whose contracts expired after 24 March will soon be unemployed.

Some workers have been on ‘temporary’ contracts for years under previous Labor governments, but these have now ended.

Hiring freeze
 
The hiring freeze covers only non-frontline staff, but unions are concerned the Newman Government is revising the definition of ‘frontline’ so more contracts can be chopped.

The government could not say how many jobs were affected but unions estimate up to 20% of the public service is employed on contracts — around 40,000 people.

Non-frontline recruitment has also halted even if interviews had already occurred, transfers have been frozen and the roles of those on secondment to higher duties will not be extended unless in exceptional circumstances.

Premier Newman made a pre-election promise to increase the percentage of permanent public servants, while reducing reliance on long-term temporary contracts.

Four days after his landslide win he ordered departmental heads to abolish contracts.

‘Blunt instrument’
 
The public sector union Together will rally on Tuesday against the changes, and secretary Alex Scott accused the Government of using a ‘blunt instrument’ to force workers into unemployment.

‘We’re not challenging the Government’s mandate . . . but we think the process that is currently being used is causing maximum pain to the workers with minimum gain to the Government,’ he said.

The Queensland Public Service Commission, which is overseeing the freeze, said it could not detail how many people were affected because each department held its own figures.
 
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