Member for Mulgrave and Shadow Minister for Energy and Water Supply Curtis Pitt says Premier Newman has confirmed jobs at Ergon in Cairns will be axed.

“The Premier indicated in Question Time in State Parliament that he will cut jobs at Ergon saying there are too many jobs in Cairns,” Mr Pitt said.

“Premier Newman needs to come clean today and say how many positions in Cairns will go, what type of jobs they are and what does it mean for service standards for consumers.

“We know the Premier has the figures on how many government positions he is axing, but he won’t release the secret files from his office.

“The Government has refused to release, under a right-to-information application by the Opposition, secret files held in the Premier’s Office which contain numbers of government jobs being axed.

“If the government has the numbers why won’t they tell the people of Queensland?” Mr Pitt asked.

Mr Pitt says Minister Assisting the Premier Glen Elmes also said in Question Time today that government workers may be forced to move cities to keep their job.

“Mr Elmes said under the new Government Directives issued on 29 June a government worker who is being redeployed could be asked to move ‘somewhere else geographically’.

“This means government workers in Cairns may have to move to Townsville, Mount Isa, Longreach or any other part of the state to keep their job.

“This is a disgraceful situation where the government is threatening workers with the ultimatum of shifting their families or unemployment.”

Mr Pitt said this follows the Premier’s statement during question time in State Parliament 19th June when asked about public service enterprise bargaining agreements the Premier said:

“It involves having what is called a managerial prerogative—that is, the ability to move people around. We need to be able to fill a vacancy in, say, Cairns and not have too many people in Townsville or vice versa.”

Mr Pitt said the Premier’s comments indicate he thinks that Cairns and Townsville need the same government services and that services provided in the two different cities are interchangeable.

“Anyone who has spent any time in Far North Queensland or North Queensland will tell you that Cairns and Townsville are different places requiring different services,” he said.

“This has again exposed the Premier’s arrogant Brisbane-centric attitude with an embarrassing lack of understanding about regional Queensland.

“Who can forget the Premier’s embarrassing gaffe during the election campaign where he said Bowen is north of Cairns.”