Nurses go in cost-cutting frenzy

EMERALD Hospital has become the latest victim in the State Government's cost-cutting frenzy.

It was revealed in State Parliament on Tuesday, three nursing positions had been axed from the regional hospital as the Government moves in on the public sector in an attempt to ease the state's dwindling finances.

It is understood the nurses positions were in the child immunisation, palliative care and cardiac departments.

The cuts will be effective from July 1.

Responding to a question about the nurse cuts, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg told parliament some districts in Queensland were well over their staff establishment.

"...if you look across our districts in the state of Queensland, of where those districts in the last 12 months or so have been well and truly over their staff establishment of 1500 or more," he said.

"I have indicated clearly to them that they are going to have to use growth to manage back within their establishment."
Premier Campbell Newman revealed on Tuesday Queensland had 20,000 more public servants than it could afford.

It was the first time he had pinpointed how many positions were at risk of being culled since the LNP embarked on its cost-saving mission.

The Queensland Council of Unions expects Rockhampton, along with Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Cairns and Mackay, will be hit hard by the public sector reduction.

President John Battams said the regional towns could loose between 300 and 500 public servants.

"For most provincial towns where, the provincial offices of government are, between 350 and 500 jobs will go in the main provincial cities in Queensland," he said.

"That is a huge blow to those economies.

"It will harm local industry, local business and we believe it is a gross over reaction."

The announcement on the number of public servants at risk of loosing their jobs comes after the State Government offered the public sector a 2.2% per annum wage increase.

Unions have shunned the offer with Queensland Nurses Union secretary Beth Mohle claiming it would impact staffing levels.

"We are concerned it could mean a cut in the number of nurses and midwives because of the arbitrary cap on expenditure. We won't let Queensland ministers go back in that regard," she said.

The Premier said he wanted to work with public service unions and reduce staff through attrition to "balance the books."