News

'We share your pain', Borg says

Member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg.
Member for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg. Jenna Cairney

MEMBER for Southern Downs Lawrence Springborg has said the state's politicians are "effectively" copping a pay freeze under Premier Campbell Newman, as anger continues to boil over government job cuts.

Mr Springborg yesterday responded to questions from the Daily News about the local effect of the government's jobs razor gang, side-stepping a suggestion that he and his parliamentary colleagues share the pain of public servants by taking a pay cut.

But the local MP and health minister said Mr Newman was refusing to confirm a federally-recommended pay rise for state politicians, meaning they were being hit with a pay freeze similar to that which the Premier has accused unions of ruling out.

"There is no decision on a pay rise, it hasn't been passed down and in fact we did have a pay freeze for two years under Kevin Rudd ," Mr Springborg said.

"This state's finances are in diabolical trouble and those of us in government understand this is a very uncertain time for employees.

"But I haven't had one local (employee) say to me they don't believe there is a need for action on state debt."

One local state employee, who asked for their name and department not to be disclosed, said the State Government should have "bypassed" the union movement and gone straight to its employees to talk about options to save on staff costs, including a pay freeze.

"Why didn't they ask us if we'd have been prepared to take a pay freeze for three years, in exchange for keeping our jobs?" the employee asked.

"You would also save in the three years through natural attrition - you'd end up with the savings, minus the pain."

The worker said the mood locally among state employees was one of "anger and discontent, just wanting to know if they will have a job or not".

Mr Springborg said a direct approach to employees was impossible due to collective bargaining processes in place, but said there was no reason voluntary redundancies could not be offered in some cases.

He would not commit to lobbying Mr Newman to bring forward further job cut announcements to ease worried workers' minds, saying "greater certainty" would be had at budget time in late September, but conceded some positions might still be up in the air after that.

"We have a state which is $65 billion in debt, forecast to grow to $100 billion by 2018," Mr Springborg said.

"I've had private sector workers say to me they haven't had a pay rise for years, and we have unions making extraordinary demands for a rise twice that of inflation."

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Topics:  campbell newman, job cuts, lawrence springborg, southern downs



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