Far Northern rural crews fire up over job cuts
FAR Northern rural fire crews have vowed to let State Government buildings burn unless job losses and budget cuts are reversed.
About 15 rural fire crews from the Cairns and Tableland say they will no longer fight fires in Government-owned buildings, including schools, and will stop helping their urban counterparts to fight fires.
The firefighters joined a group of about 250 protesters to rally outside a Community Cabinet meeting held at Parramatta Park State School yesterday.
Davies Creek Rural Fire Brigade first officer Warren McNamara said 53 per cent of rural staff would lose their jobs under the planned cuts.
"They say they’re going to get rid of the fat and administration, but they’re getting rid of frontline jobs and the people that train us," he said.
"We’re taking major action and we won’t be reporting to urban fires and we won’t be putting out fires on state-owned land."
Teachers also protested against the $4.1 million in programs cut from the Department of
Queensland Teacher’s Union president Kevin Bates, who travelled from Brisbane to attend the rally, said teachers were also angry about the stalled negotiations over pay and conditions.
"Teachers have been waiting for a pay rise since July 1 and all this Government has been able to deliver is an attack on their working conditions," he said.
Edge Hill State School Year 2 teacher Cecelia Brooke said she was concerned her students would be worse off under the Newman Government.
"We have no support in classrooms. It’s not about me, it’s about my students," she said.
Ms Brooke, who started teaching 35 years ago, said morale among her colleagues was low.
"We’re all sticking together but we are really worried," she said.
A trio of women dressed in matching pink dresses, who identified themselves only as the "ladies of the right", brought a whipped cream cake for Mr Newman.
"We’re hoping to give him the cake to cut since he’s cut all the jobs," one of the ladies said.
But the cake was never delivered, as police escorted the women from the school.
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Queensland Rural Fire Brigade officers protest against cuts to their service by burning a map of the state.