JOB cuts at the Darling Downs Correctional Centre were just the beginning, a union organiser said yesterday.
Police Minister Jack Dempsey announced the closure of the correctional centre on Tuesday night as part of the Government's strategy to fix Queensland's debt problems.
"Sadly, we believe this action is the first of many attacks on public services across the Darling Downs," the lead organiser of the Southern Queensland Together Union, Dennis Mullins, said.
"Mr Newman said there would be no job cuts to frontline jobs and if a prison guard isn't a frontline job I don't' know what is."
Mr Dempsey said the jail, southwest of Toowoomba, would close and the 140 male prisoners and 40 work camp prisoners would be moved to other correctional centres.
"The cost to upgrade this facility - estimated to be $20 million - is more than the people of Queensland can currently afford," he said.
"More than 40 full-time staff employed at the centre and its associated dairy will be relocated or offered redundancy.
"Any employee who is not able or willing to be placed else where will be offered redundancy."
Mr Mullins said the union was not given any warning.
"We had absolutely no advance notice given to the union or members," he said.
"The sad part is the way the staff found out.
"The inmates knew before the employees."
Mr Mullins said it was not as easy as simply finding another job.
"The skills these employees have are not transferable in the Toowoomba area and many will have to move to Brisbane," he said.
"One employee called it economic blackmail."
Mr Mullins said the employees were not just from Toowoomba.
"A lot of people are from outside Toowoomba, including people from Allora and Warwick," he said.
"People are gutted and in shock and are not prepared to talk to the media.
"The LNP honeymoon period of 100 days may be over, but we won't be able to get the marriage annulled, so Queensland better get ready for the marriage to be truly consummated."
More job cuts
- 40 full-time staff will be offered redundacny or transfers