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Anxious weekend for public servants

Close to 2000 Transport and Main Roads staff will have a restless weekend after finding out they will be told by telephone on Tuesday – the day of the Queensland budget – whether they still have a job.

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Job cuts becoming clearer

The Newman government plans to unveil cuts to the health department Friday, saying that Tuesday's budget should "in the main" be the end of public service job losses.

And Queensland Health staff are expected to be told this morning by video if they have jobs in the department's new structure.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg is expected to reveal the extent of job cuts across the health department, which one union fears could be as many as 4000, about 11.30am today.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Alex Markwell will lead a group of health experts today in protest against the ‘‘dismantling and de-staffing’’ of Queensland Health.

“The Newman Government is blindly breaking-up a system which works without consulting the professionals who know best,” Dr Markwell said in a statement today.


She said the spreading of public health services over 17 regions was ‘‘short-sighted and counterproductive’’.

‘‘Patients will be left much worse off, particularly in regional areas, when they can’t get the treatment they need,’’ she said.

“We can’t allow short term financial gain to be prioritised ahead of the worse long-term health effects of cutting staff and rationing preventative and public health programs.”

Staff at the Transport and Main Roads' George Street office were told yesterday afternoon by email that they would learn their future on budget day.

In one branch, the job reduction was expressed as being a "significant milestone in our branch reform".

Transport and Main Roads' Roads, Rail and Ports System general manager Sal Petroccitto emailed staff yesterday to inform them they would receive telephone calls on Tuesday.

"Next week is going to be incredibly tough on all of us," Mr Petroccitto says in his email.

"We will be telling good employees they no longer have a future role with the department. "Those who do have roles will feel empathy for their co-workers.

"We all need to support each other through this difficult period. I urge you to continue to look out for each other."

The department has finalised its new structure and is now letting staff know their future by phone.

"On Tuesday 11 September 2012, your Executive Director or myself will be phoning those employees who do not have a role in the new structure," Mr Petroccitto said in the email.

"During the phone call, you will be given the choice to either meet with myself and your respective Executive Director or decline the meeting and collect the documentation from a specified location.

"The documentation includes the letter detailing your option of taking a voluntary redundancy or electing to become an Employee Requiring Placement (ERP) and pursue transfer or redeployment opportunities."

Staff can meet the director in person the next day and can have their choice of family member, a trusted friend or a union representative at that meeting next Wednesday, they have been told.

A spokesman for Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said most of the 1970 Transport and Main Roads staff who will lose positions will find out on Tuesday.

Some staff have already been notified, he said.

Mr Emerson's spokesman said final negotiations were under way with Queensland Rail staff to announce job cuts.

Estimates of Queensland Rail job cuts range from 400 to 2000.

Mr Emerson's spokesman said he did not know the exact figure and would not speculate.

- with Marissa Calligeros


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