ON THE WHARF: Gladstone Ports Corporation workers tie off a bulk carrier. Photo contributed
ON THE WHARF: Gladstone Ports Corporation workers tie off a bulk carrier. Photo contributed contributed by Gladstone Ports C

Union says Ports Corp lease is privatisation, ‘kick in guts’

JUST two months ago, Premier Campbell Newman told a Gladstone audience he was personally opposed to selling Gladstone Ports Corporation.

The premier's statement in March came amid speculation his government would sell the port to reduce the state's debt.

He repeated that claim in early April.

Technically, the Premier did not break his word yesterday - the Government confirmed it would not sell the port.

However critics are still referring to yesterday's proposal as "privatisation".

Gladstone-based organiser for the state Maritime Union of Australia Jason Miners said job losses would be inevitable with a private sector lease.

"It's a race to the bottom, that's how all these privatisations work. The Government sells it out and jobs get cut; it's a real kick in the guts for maritime workers in Gladstone," he said.

Queensland MUA represents more than 300 workers in Gladstone, and Mr Miners said the lease of GPC would also affect workers in Bundaberg and at Port Alma.

Mr Miners said privatisation usually compromised workplace safety, as workers were forced into dual roles.

"Currently, the port's well-maintained and employs a lot of people, it's the centre of Gladstone - for that to be damaged is a disgrace.''

He denied privatisation could benefit the port, by reducing inefficiencies.

"They've attracted $40bn in investment, so whatever inefficiencies there might have been, that's definitely been neutralised by expansion."



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