Federal help for axed public servants dismissed as a ‘stunt’

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The federal government is trying to make political mileage out of the misery of Queensland’s public servants, Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls says.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard condemned the state government for the axings on Sunday at the ALP Queensland conference and warned that if the conservatives were elected federally, there would be a nationwide repeat.

Today, it upped the ante and federal Employment Minister Bill Shorten announced $850,000 would be spent helping workers find new jobs and non-government organisations that lost state funding.

Mr Nicholls says the package is a stunt.

‘‘This is just politics by Bill Shorten in an effort to try to make some political mileage out of the misery, out of difficulties that Queensland workers are going through,’’ he told the ABC.

Mr Shorten has copped criticism for decrying the cuts in Queensland while it is chopping its workforce by 3000 through attrition or voluntary redundancies.

Mr Shorten said the two cannot be compared.

He said the Newman government could not justify its cuts, whereas the federal losses were through winding down temporary contracts put on for the census, a once-in-five-year event, and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

He said the federal cuts weren’t being conducted in the same manner as they were in Queensland.

‘‘You don’t hear the same outrage from Commonwealth public sector workers that we’re hearing from real people in Brisbane,’’ he told the ABC today.

‘‘We have not been conducting ourselves in the high handed manner of the reckless decisions of the state government.’’

Mr Shorten announced today the $850,000 assistance package.

Three job expos were expected to be held in Brisbane, Townsville and Ipswich-Logan in the coming weeks.

Another 30 workshops would be held in regional Queensland to help sacked workers find new jobs and help non-government organisations that lost state funding.

About 14,000 Queensland public sector positions were cut in the state budget handed down a week ago.

Mr Shorten admitted the expos could do only so much when so many people were looking for work.

“It’s employment speed dating for people,” Mr Shorten said.


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