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Unions welcome Budget spend on services and infrastructure to shake COVID

Budget investment in service delivery and infrastructure spending is the quickest path to Queensland’s recovery after COVID.

Today’s State Budget acknowledges investment in health, education and infrastructure will provide a safe and secure future for Queenslanders, and the thousands more every month choosing to make it home.

Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Michael Clifford welcomed the commitment to an additional 9,700 workers in community safety and education over the next four years, and those who support delivery of these vital frontline services.

There has also been an increased spend in health, with a focus on delivery of capital programs including building facilities in regional areas, boosting emergency departments in hospitals, and maintaining health staffing.

But Queensland Unions were opposed to any cuts to jobs or a hiring freeze that would reduce the ability of the public sector to deliver the wide range of quality services it currently provides to Queenslanders.

“We are against any measures that would limit the opportunities for Queenslanders having secure jobs into the future,” Mr Clifford said.

“A budget surplus should not come at the expense of investment in secure jobs, quality services and future building infrastructure, which should be our priority at the moment.

“Keeping your community healthy and safe is the springboard to rebounding after COVID.

“A focus on health spending in recent budgets has ensured Queensland’s resilience through the COVID crisis, positioning the state well to continue building safe and secure jobs,” Mr Clifford said.

“In rebuilding our economy, we need to focus on creating secure jobs and putting Queensland workers first.

“Creating conditions for safe and secure employment means we all benefit, as workers have the financial security to make spending decisions, and local economies benefit from that security and investment,” he said.

“As much as possible of the $52.2 billion spend for public infrastructure should stay in Queensland, with local firms and workers winning the contracts that will provide secure jobs that will benefit all Queenslanders.”

Queensland Unions called on the government to continue its push to reduce temporary employment, and focus services where Queenslanders need them most.

“Outsourcing government work or using labour hire providers to deliver services undermines the strong economic recovery that Queensland is making,” he said.

“Every Queenslander will welcome the $2 billion investment into renewable energy and manufacturing in this state,” he said.

“Thumbs up too for the $460 million investment into the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program, training and assistance for businesses to hire unemployed Queenslanders.”

The $21 million funding for free TAFE for free apprenticeships to Queenslanders aged under 25 was also welcomed.