MINISTERIAL STATEMENT - International Cleaners Day; Public Service, Accommodation

15 June 2017

As a member of the cleaners union, I join Mr Speaker in acknowledging that today is International Cleaners Day and acknowledge the critical role that cleaners play in keeping our schools, our hospitals and our workplaces safe. There is no bigger dividing line in this House than the question of how Queensland’s hardworking public servants should be treated, including cleaners employed by Queensland government agencies. We on this side of the House back the men and women who work hard every day supporting Queenslanders to make this the great state that it is while those opposite have quite a miserable record of Public Service cuts and the most destruction ever recorded, including repeated attempts to sack the cleaning workforce. Instead, we back our front-line workers. We back our health workers, we back our police, we back our teachers, and we back our housing and our Building and Asset Services staff. We back our paramedics, our Child Safety workers, our prison officers and our support staff who run our schools. We know that these people are working for Queenslanders every day. They make our state a better, safer, smarter and more prosperous place to live. They are essential workers; they are not de-necessary. I am very pleased to inform the House that, as part of our commitment to people working for Queenslanders, this government will be investing $168.5 million into government employee housing as part of this year’s budget. This will see 113 new homes over four years so that regional, remote and outback communities can attract and retain more hardworking Queenslanders. We will be upgrading and improving 4,915 homes across the state to make sure that those who are serving our state are living in conditions worthy of their services. Queenslanders went into shock when those opposite held the treasury benches. The severity and savagery of their job cuts was bad enough, but those 14,000 people who were so cruelly and heartlessly dehumanised and discarded were providing services to Queenslanders. We are not only restoring those services but also giving those workers the tools they need to do their jobs. By restoring those services and providing decent, quality accommodation, we are backing in rural and regional Queensland communities. The members opposite might remember those communities. The old National Party used to represent them. The Palaszczuk Labor government believes that Queenslanders who live in regional communities deserve to have access to essential services. Providing this accommodation helps us to bring doctors, nurses, teachers and police right into the centre of Queensland’s rural and regional communities. Each of those workers brings another income—and often another family—into rural and regional towns, just as construction and upgrade programs add a massive boost to economic activity in rural and remote Queensland. In those towns local businesses can be doing it tough. Sometimes the local post office has closed down because there are not enough people. Police officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, doctors, allied health practitioners and teachers are all essential and vital jobs in our regions and our significant investment is essential support for the work that they are doing. 

Labor will never resile from its belief that, by working together, we are working for a better state; that we all do better when we all do better. If those opposite think that they can once again target and divide Queenslanders, bring it on.