Queensland Council of Unions President John Battams.
Queensland Council of Unions President John Battams. Lee Constable

Qld unions vote to stop public asset sales

QUEENSLAND unions are looking to mobilise their regional bases to stop the government selling off public assets.

More than 200 union delegates and observers from across Queensland - including representatives from the Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Mackay - voted to band together against asset sales at a union congress in Brisbane yesterday.

The Queensland Council of Unions Congress voted in policies to work against privatisation and the reduction of penalty rates they will take to political parties.

QCU president John Battams, speaking at the congress, said regional Queensland would be especially hard hit be electricity leasing or sales.

"Regional Queensland is a very important focus for us," he said.

"We believe asset sell offs will be especially bad for regional Queensland.

"They can call it what they want but be it leasing or sales but it has the same effect - the asset going into corporate hands. What we're especially concerned about is the maintenance of the electricity network.

"The depots all around regional Queensland will go in the corporate search for profits."

The QCU has established a group this week in Bundaberg under the QCU's Stand For Queensland banner which is planned on being the first on many.

The Queensland Government has denied a leasing arrangement would have any negative impact on regional electricity consumers.

A spokeswoman for the treasurer's office this week said the government would continue to pay the subsidy keeping regional prices in line with those in south-east Queensland.

"The government remains committed to supporting regional electricity consumers and will continue to pay this subsidy," she said.

"Any lease option would have stringent legislative, governance and community service obligations imposed."

The Queensland Labor Party last month voted to give affiliated unions a one third say in future party leadership polls. Mr Battams said affiliation remains up to individual unions.

- APN NEWSDESK



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