Experienced government workers were encouraged to take early retirement so they could be replaced with a cheaper workforce, State Parliament heard yesterday.
Opposition industrial relations spokesman Santo Santoro claimed more than 300 WorkCover Queensland employees were expected to take voluntary early retirements by June 2000. That equated to almost a third of its total work force of 1051 in June last year.
Industrial Relations Minister Paul Braddy admitted in Parliament yesterday that the job losses would be partially made up through hiring trainees.
"WorkCover is putting on substantial numbers of trainees," Mr Braddy said. "WorkCover has indicated that over time, as the needs are assessed, the numbers will rise again. The trainees are happy and WorkCover is picking up some good employees."
Mr Santoro said the comments amounted to an admission that Voluntary Early Retrirements were being used to cut labour costs.
"It cannot be denied that the changes introduced by the Beattie Labor Government to the definition of injury and the definition of an employee ... will lead to increased costs incurred by WorkCover," he said.