Around 300 nurses have rallied in Queensland against job cuts at Townsville amid fears more health positions face the axe.
Nurses rallied with placards outside the Townsville Hospital after the hospital’s board announced it will axe 131 positions, including 45 full-time equivalent nurses.
The state’s public health sector faces uncertainty amid speculation up to 4000 Queensland Health employees are set to lose their jobs as the State Government prepares to unveil its cost-cutting budget next week.
Queensland Nurses’ Union secretary Beth Mohle said the new Liberal National Party government had promised more frontline services, not less.
“Our members are actually gobsmacked, I have got to say,” she said.
“If they (the government) are just concerned about the budget bottom line they should think again.
“They are putting at risk services to the community and fundamentally the economy.
“If people have job uncertainty it impacts on and has wider ramifications for the community.”
Ms Mohle said the nurses who lost their jobs are understandably distraught.
“They are angry, they are stressed, they are devastated,” she said.
“Some people weren’t even capable of talking to us, our members, they were so distressed.
“It’s a disgrace.
“We don’t want our members to panic but we can’t give them any guarantees.
“All of the boards are making individual decisions and they will all reach different conclusions potentially.’’
The cuts come as the infamous Queensland Health payroll system churned out an extra $27.2 million in payments to nurses this week as part of the first pay under EB8.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the pay packet, which includes back-pay to April on top of a new fortnightly salary, was part of the government’s drive to retain, attract, reward and value nurses.