Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt says the Newman Government is closing all regional WorkCover offices by the end of June, including the office serving Far North Queensland resulting in six jobs being axed in Cairns.
Mr Pitt said this was another example of the Newman Government abandoning regional Queensland, with the only remaining WorkCover offices being left in Brisbane.
“Just last week the Premier said he wanted to promote job opportunities in regional Queensland and today is announcing the closing of offices and axing of jobs in regional centres across the state,” Mr Pitt said.
“WorkCover offices in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton are all being closed, slashing 17 jobs.
“WorkCover has in recent years been making efficiencies by centralising its claims and other services in Brisbane, but this approach has simply gone too far.
“If the LNP was serious about its commitment to regional Queensland it could stop these closures and retain a regional presence.
“Unfortunately it is a Brisbane-centric Government which has already slashed hundreds of government jobs and frontline services in Cairns and other regional centres.
“Insultingly, staff were offered positions in one of the Brisbane offices, showing how out of touch this Government is with people who live in regional Queensland.
“It is also unclear how Cairns people who suffer an injury in the workplace will access WorkCover services and assistance without a dedicated presence in our city,” he said.
Mr Pitt said today’s clandestine announcement of the WorkCover office closures and job cuts was in complete contradiction to the Premier’s comments last week about creating jobs in regional Queensland.
“Instead of the Premier or Attorney-General making the announcement that they are slashing more regional jobs and services they left it up to WorkCover to be the bearer of bad news, with a statement appearing on their site,” Mr Pitt said.
“It is not clear what consultation was done with staff and the community before this announcement was made.
“The announcement also shows the short-sightedness of this LNP Government when one week they are talking up regional Queensland and the next weeks they are slashing jobs and services in regional centres across the state,” he said.
Last week on 29th March on Radio 4BC the Premier Campbell Newman said:
“I do want to decentralise, I want to regionalise,” he said.
“We really want to get behind those great regional cities, places like Maryborough, Gladstone, Rocky, Bundaberg and Mackay …
“We can better manage this by policy regionalisation. Let’s not put all our eggs into one basket and make South-East Queensland the LA of Australia.”
Mr Pitt said the Premier and Attorney-General need to stop hiding behind WorkCover and explain to the people of regional Queensland why they have removed more jobs and services from Cairns.