The secretary of the Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) has described the state’s budget as catastrophic for the health sector.
Speaking exclusively to NCAH, QNU secretary Beth Mohle said morale among nurses and allied health professionals had been destroyed by cuts announced by the Newman Government on 11 September.
Mohle also said the workers’ future remained uncertain amid mixed messages over the extent of job cuts; more than 4100 Queensland Health employees would be paid redundancies, the government budget announcement confirmed. However this was not in keeping with a pre-announced figure of 2754 state-wide revealed last week.
“Nurses, midwives and health workers have got the Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.”
“We’re already seeing the effect
of the cuts in places like Townsville, which will lose around 45 nurses with around 131 FTEs (full time equivalents) set to go, and a final total of 200 redundancies going forward.”
Cuts were also causing ripple effects in the education sector, now suffering from perceptions of career uncertainty.
“Already I’ve heard anecdotally of four student midwives who had applied to the Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital and had secured places there, who have now been told that the places are no longer available.”
“All over the state we’re hearing stories like this.”
Mohle said the budget cuts were an over-reaction by the State Government to Queensland's financial position, which could largely be attributed to uncommon impacts in recent years such as the GFC and the Queensland floods.
The QNU had a launched a newspaper advertising campaign to protest the cuts, she confirmed. At the time of writing, Mohle was also preparing to join the Queensland Council of Unions protest rally, kicking off at 12.30 on Wednesday 12 September in Queens Park Brisbane, followed by a march to the State Government headquarters.
“It’s vital to get our message out there,” she said.
“This is a huge step back for Queensland; not just for workers in the health sector but for the community as a whole.”