Media Releases


SA Unions is calling on the University of Adelaide to commit to Radio Adelaide’s future.

State Secretary, Joe Szakacs (pron sock-arch) says the station has for many years been an important training ground for young media professionals.

“Radio Adelaide has given thousands of ordinary South Australians the opportunity to tell their stories.”

“From workers to innovators and entrepreneurs, from musicians to writers, from academics to students, Radio Adelaide presents real stories from real people.”

“With the major media outlets shrinking – and the worrying loss of jobs and independence in the mainstream media – it’s more important than ever to have this independent voice on our airwaves.”

“The last thing we need in South Australia is to lose more jobs. We call on the University to commit to Radio Adelaide’s ongoing operations and new premises.”

“Surely within a budget the size of the University’s, this is not too much to ask.”


SA Unions has today absolutely rejected a push by the South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill to increase the rate of the GST to 15%.

State Secretary, Joe Szakacs (pron sock-arch) says the announcement today is a fundamental betrayal of South Australian working people.

“Just eighteen months ago – the day before the last State election – Premier Weatherill promised he would stand up to Canberra and their plan for a GST increase”.

“Today, he’s failed the people of South Australia. At the time, he said that any changes to the GST would hit working families the hardest, explaining that a rise in the GST would put a tax on food.”

“He warned that if a State Liberal Government were to be elected, it would not stand up to Canberra and fight against a GST, that there would be little or no resistance to a bigger tax.”

“His announcement today means he’s failed to deliver on that promise.”

Mr Szakacs says the Premier has been distracted by trying to be a player on the national political stage and a spruiker of the Abbott Turnbull GST agenda instead of standing up for the best interests of South Australian working people.

“People in the suburbs, in his own electorate, want a State Government that is working to create jobs – not a State Government that thinks it is okay for them to fork out more for life’s essentials.”

“Eleven million low and middle income workers will face huge hikes in their cost of living if the GST is increased. This kind of regressive tax hits lower income workers three times harder than people on higher wages.”

“We simply don’t buy that the increase will help fund health and education – it’s more likely to pay for cuts to corporate tax rates and personal income tax rates which only benefit the wealthy.”

“Mr Weatherill – stop ignoring workers and be honest about the thousands of extra dollars this will cost families each year. We need a tax system in which everyone pays their fair share and low and middle income earners aren’t expected to do all the heavy lifting.”


Community Forum on the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement – tonight 6-7 pm, West Adelaide Football Club

SA Unions says the hotly-debated China Australia Free Trade Agreement will be a disaster for local jobs if it goes ahead.

State Secretary, Joe Szakacs says there are fears that the agreement could result in the loss of up to 158,000 jobs nationally – and that number could rise if the Turnbull Government concludes similar deals with India and the US.

“Under this proposed agreement, any requirement that employers have to offer jobs to locals first will be removed.”

“Any Chinese company with a project over $150m won’t have to offer jobs to locals first.”

“They will be able to bring in lower-skilled overseas workers with lower-level language skills and pay them lower wages than are currently allowed under the standard visa program.”

“Not only will the agreement rip jobs away from locals, but it will rip-off foreign workers, some of whom already have some of the world’s worst working conditions.”

Mr Szakacs says the issue will be debated tonight at the community forum, which will feature SA Senator Penny Wong, National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Andrew Dettmer, and local Maritime Union member Matt Burnell.

“We’ve seen this kind of thing happening in our ports – moves to bring in lower paid foreign crews are already having an enormous impact on local jobs.”

“Unions are calling on the Federal Government to abandon these anti-worker provisions and stand up for Australian jobs.”


The State Budget’s tax reform package delivers big savings to businesses in South Australia – and it’s now time for them to start creating jobs.

State Secretary, Joe Szakacs (pron sock-arch) says the $670m in tax cuts are aimed at making South Australia a better place to do business.

“For years, business has been saying that taxes need to be cut and that if they were, they would employ more people.”

“Now they need to put their money where their mouths are and start hiring.”

“Working people will now be waiting to see if these tax cuts create jobs, as we have been promised.”

Mr Szakacs says unions are disappointed that there is no specific focus on skills and training, given our high youth unemployment rate.”

“And we would have liked to have seen stamp duty relief for low income earners to help them by their first home.”

“We know people are worried about jobs in South Australia – and rightly so.”

“With Holden going, the subs project in doubt, and jobs being lost at Alinta, this was clearly not the time to cut more jobs, because that will only hurt our economy.”

“We also recognise that there are no further wholesale job cuts across the public sector, which means important services for the community will be protected.”

“It is also encouraging to see the investment in public housing, roads, schools and major events – which will all create jobs for South Australians.”


South Australians will be out in force in the streets of Adelaide today as part of a nationwide series of rallies to protest the savage cuts in the Abbott Government’s Federal Budget.

People will be gathering at Victoria Square at 11.30 am and will then march on to Parliament House.

SA Unions State Secretary, Joe Szakacs (pron sock-arch), who’ll be speaking at the rally, says people are worried and angry about the massive and savage cuts inflicted by the Federal Liberal Government.

“We’ve seen attacks on pensioners, the unemployed and just this week, on people with a disability.

“We’re facing a GP tax, a petrol tax, higher costs for medicines and $80 billion in cuts to the State’s which fund our hospitals and schools.

“This isn’t the kind of Australia our community wants, one in which the disadvantaged are blamed and demonised instead of being given a helping hand.”

“This rally is about making sure Australian’s don’t forget what this budget is doing to our fellow Australians.

“We won’t forget what Tony Abbott is doing to the very things that make us a fair and equitable country.”


Unionists representing tens of thousands of working people will be hitting the streets every morning this week to spread the word about the Bust the Budget rally next Sunday.

The unions represent nurses, firefighters, teachers, state and federal public sector workers, those working in the community sector, child care and aged care workers, people in hospitality, maritime workers, those in manufacturing and even retired union members.

They will be handing out flyers to commuters at the Adelaide Railway Station, along the tramline and at major interchanges in the northern and southern suburbs.

SA Unions Secretary, Joe Szakacs (pron Sock-arch), says South Australians are rightly angry about the savage cuts proposed by the Abbott Government and will be joining hundreds of thousands of people across the country who will be rallying next weekend.

“Whether it is the GP tax, the petrol tax, cuts to schools funding, cuts to pensions and benefits, attacks on the unemployed and on people with a disability, people are saying enough’s enough.”

“Half a billion dollars is being slashed from training and apprenticeships.”

“$80 billion is being ripped from the States’ health and education budgets.”

“South Australians are seeing this budget for what it is: heartless and cruel.”

“We are asking people to think about what this Budget will mean for them, their families and their communities.”

“If this isn’t the kind of Australia they want, they should join the rally on Sunday to send the strongest message to the Abbott Government, and his key South Australian Ministers like Christopher Pyne and Jamie Briggs.”

The rally will begin at Victoria Square at 11.30 am on Sunday 6 July and the thousands of people expected to turn out will then march to Parliament House.

Speakers at the rally will include Joe Szakacs, Elizabeth Dabars for the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Liz Temple from the Community and Public Sector Union, Grace Hill from the National Union of Students, and more to be announced.