Job losses and dramatic funding cuts in community and disability services is the writing between the lines in conflicting and confusing plans announced by the Opposition.
Despite previous Opposition claims that no community services would be cut, Liberal deputy leader Colin Barnett has now threatened that unspecified Government programs would be axed. The Opposition Industrial Relations spokesman has also refused to guarantee public service wages.
Family and Community Development Minister Eric Ripper said today the failure to explain how more than $500 million in lost payroll tax would be replaced, made Opposition promises on welfare ring hollow.
This must cause uncertainty for the nearly 2,200 non-Government workers funded through the Community Development and disability services portfolios. The State Government supported award coverage for these workers now mostly without such protection. There were no prospects for such award coverage under the Opposition's industrial relations policy.
The 3,100 Government workers in Community Development and Disability Services also faced uncertainty with the Opposition determination to pursue individual contracts and refusal to guarantee wages.
"During the Victorian election campaign, Liberal Leader Jeff Kennett vowed that not one worker would lose any money or conditions under his Government," Mr Ripper said.
"After he won, he set about axing 15,000 public service jobs and cutting welfare - including chopping $35 million from the budget of the Department for Community Services in Victoria. Of the previous 800 non-Government welfare groups in Victoria, only half have maintained their funding under Kennett, with 300 having their funding cut and 100 scrapped altogether. Twenty six groups in the Poverty Action Program have been completely axed. Disability groups suffered cuts of up to 50 per cent.
"The Western Australian Opposition has borrowed so much from Victoria, including advertising themes, that Kennett-style pre-election job protection promises have little credibility."