As I prepare for the ANF Delegates’ conference tomorrow, I’m buoyed by what a great week it’s been for ANF already, and it’s only Wednesday – a strong EBA for Healthscope nurses and midwives (vote yes!), and progress in the Mental Health negotiations.
But District nurses continue to fight for an equitable outcome, teachers are poised to take stronger action next term, and across the state the impact of the Baillieu government’s short-sighted TAFE evisceration looks worse by the day.
With a one-seat majority this government has: introduced massive cuts to vocational education, primarily the public sector (TAFE); seen unprecedented action by teachers, who are just beginning their campaign; caused the longest, bitterest and strongest industrial action by nurses and midwives in over a quarter of a century; continues to be responsible for the longest period of mental health negotiations; slashed public sector positions that support those of us on the front line; removed the limited funding SES volunteers received (which used to cover a truck per unit); allowed negotiations with rangers to stretch for thirteen months and counting past the expiration of their EBA; and introduced legislation allowing the removal of almost $500 million dollars from WorkCover over 4 years – money that is not a tax, is paid in by employers, and used to support employees injured (often permanently) through work. And these are just the aspects I can recall off the top of my head.
That’s with a ‘mandate’ of a single seat. There can not be a second term – there will be nothing left of the public sector. It’s 885 days until Victoria goes to the polls. Vote wisely.