Cheryl West, Kevin the dog, and Jo Turner with fellow teachers rallying outside the Proserpine Entertainment Centre yesterday.
Cheryl West, Kevin the dog, and Jo Turner with fellow teachers rallying outside the Proserpine Entertainment Centre yesterday. Nat Bromhead

Anxious workers protest cutbacks

TEACHERS, public servants, health care workers and social groups have united in protest over ongoing cutbacks to government and community services.

A group of about 100 gathered outside the Proserpine Entertainment Centre yesterday as Premier Campbell Newman and his ministerial entourage held Community Cabinet.

A peaceful protest only became boisterous with the arrival of senior ministers and the Premier.

Rally organiser Dolph Lossberg said supporters had travelled from Ayr to Sarina to take their stance.

He said he had never seen such change in the Queensland public service and it was time for workers to unite.

"It's time we need the community to ask politicians what their plan is," he said.

"If you sack the public servants, who's going to service the public?"

Mr Lossberg said further rallies were planned throughout regional Queensland leading up to a major protest in Brisbane.

Teachers also attended the meeting to rally against change and meet with Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek.

Cheryl West, a state school teacher with more than 20 years, said she was deeply concerned with changes to education policies.

"Classroom sizes have to be guaranteed," she said.

"We are totally concerned. Our message to the Premier is he has got it wrong.

"He's just creating a bigger problem in the long-term."

Colleague Jo Turner said if children couldn't be educated properly then "we haven't got the smart state we are supposed to have".

"The problems will just escalate," she said.

Ms Turner said public sector savings would make the Premier's bank balance look good.

"But someone else's bank balance will start to look bad," she said.

"That will be the people suffering."

Mackay Regional Tennant Group president Merrilyn Rowler was in Proserpine to meet Minister for Housing and Public Works Bruce Flegg.

With social housing one of the most critical issues in the region her plea to the Premier and his Minister was clear.

"We are here to ask the Minister to come face to face with the people whose lives he is affecting in such a dramatic way," she said.

"It's time they faced people who's lives they're turning upside down."

She said the tenant group was concerned for the region's elderly.

"People 70, 80 and 90 years old are being told they have to move," she said.

"They shouldn't need to be worried about being forced out of their homes."


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