The NSW union movement is today officially launching its election campaign in Newcastle targeting the Baird Government’s privatisation agenda.
Entitled ‘NSW Not For Sale’ the campaign includes strategic door knocking, phone and digital campaigning, as well as radio and television advertisements which began airing over the weekend.
The campaign from NSW unions follows similar campaigns in Victoria and Queensland which helped defeat pro-privatisation governments in recent months.
Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said unemployment figures released last week showed the Liberals and Nationals had neglected Newcastle and the Hunter ever since they came to power.
“Newcastle and the Hunter are heading for an unemployment crisis under Mike Baird,” Mr Lennon said.
“Unemployment in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie is 8.3 per cent — across the rest of the Hunter it’s 7.9 per cent and it’s vital that the State government starts investing in more jobs instead of selling off the farm.”
“The Liberal and National parties today seem to have one overriding agenda – and that’s to flog off the public’s vital assets to the private sector as quickly as possible,” Mr Lennon said.
“There are thousands of electricity workers living in Newcastle and the Hunter and many of them will face the axe if Mike Baird sells off the electricity network,” he said.
“We are seeing the Americanisation of the public health system, which is putting nurse-to-patient ratios and other services at risk.
“The government is refusing to rule out whether the new Maitland Hospital will be a model similar to the new Northern Beaches Hospital which will be privately owned and operated.
“The Liberals are also working on plans to shut down the hospital at Stockton and by relinquishing their responsibility to provide government funded disability services thousands of disability workers will be transferred to the private sector.
“We have seen TAFE undermined and eroded by private sector competitors, resulting in fees doubling for many courses. Under the NSW Liberals a two-year diploma in Electrical Engineering, for example, has increased from $3000 to $8000, while a Certificate III in bricklaying has gone from $1700 to $3600.”
Mr Lennon said selling off electricity poles and wires won’t help workers thrown onto the unemployment queues and the unions’ campaign would be unrelenting in the lead up to polling day.
“We know what works – and that’s real workers engaging with real voters. We already have a thousand volunteers engaging with people in the electorate about privatisation, and we only plan to ramp up from here,” Mr Lennon said.
“The undeniable fact is that the people of NSW do not want the Baird Government’s privatisation agenda. It is our job to make sure that message gets through loud and clear during the election campaign.”
The ad campaign is jointly funded by Unions NSW, ETU, HSU, NSWTF, and the USU.