200 gather to protest against cuts in budget

Protesters gathered in Launceston’s Civic Square yesterday to rally against proposed budget cuts.

 Picture: MARK JESSER

Protesters gathered in Launceston’s Civic Square yesterday to rally against proposed budget cuts. Picture: MARK JESSER

ABOUT 200 protesters, including nurses and paramedics, protested against the state budget in Launceston’s Civic Square yesterday.

The rally followed a similar ‘‘Bust the Budget’’ event in Hobart last week, and ran at the same time as another in Devonport.

Health and Community Services Union state secretary Tim Jacobson said it was a ‘‘magnificent’’ turnout, prompted by the wage freeze legislation, federal budget cuts and anti-protest legislation.

‘‘The next is to continue to lobby the Legislative Council to make sure that both pieces of legislation fail,’’ Mr Jacobson said.

Australian Education Union state president Terry Polglase told a vocal crowd that contempt was growing among public school staff.

‘‘They are angry. They don’t express it, because they’re good ... citizens, but I’m telling you, they’re letting me know they’ve had enough,’’ Mr Polglase said.

Premier Will Hodgman said the state government was proposing a balanced solution to fiscal challenges.

‘‘We’re not going to take away people’s pay, we’re not going to take away their jobs, we are going to pause their pay for a reasonable period to get the budget back on track and, importantly, to save the government having to remove more jobs from the public sector,’’ Mr Hodgman said.

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