Bust the Budget: union delegates say Illawarra is 'hurting'

SCLC Secretary Arthur Rorris at the Bust the Budget meeting in Wollongong on Thursday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

SCLC Secretary Arthur Rorris at the Bust the Budget meeting in Wollongong on Thursday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Union officials from across the region met in Wollongong on Thursday as part of the ‘Bust The Budget’ meetings held around the country.

More than 30 delegates from organisations including the National Tertiary Education, Maritime, teachers’ and Manufacturing Workers unions met at the Australian Workers Union offices to discuss responses to the federal budget, after patching in to a live stream of a Sydney Bust The Budget meeting.

AWU branch president Branco Gorgievski said the Illawarra would be particularly hard-hit by budget measures around education funding, Medicare co-payments and changes to pensions.

‘‘They are all issues which will impact on everyday people. They will hit us hard, we’re already struggling as it is,’’ Mr Gorgievski said.

‘‘If anything, we need a hand up. The biggest problem is the Illawarra is taken for granted, we need more attention.’’

Fire Brigade Employees Union member Andrew Haas, and FBEU sub-branch secretary Phil Hay, said the unions’ anger was mainly directed towards what they saw as the ‘‘inequity’’ of the budget. 

Dave Hunt, Andrew Haas and Phil Hay at the Bust the Budget meeting on Thursday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Dave Hunt, Andrew Haas and Phil Hay at the Bust the Budget meeting on Thursday. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

‘‘There are battlers struggling here. We’re trying to rally public support, get people to pay attention,’’ Mr Hay said.

‘‘The Illawarra seems to cop it a lot more than other regions. We get left behind,’’ Mr Haas said.

Mr Gorgievski said the meeting was the first step in the Bust The Budget movement, and promised more action to protest the budget’s unpopular measures.

‘‘This is the start of many things to come, to get people to take notice,’’ he said.

‘‘We are hurting here.’’

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