Out of work families face prospect of losing everything

Stephanie and Mark Lavery, pictured with children Jack and Breeanna, both lost their Queensland government jobs. Photo: Darryn Smith / Sunshine Coast Daily
Stephanie and Mark Lavery, pictured with children Jack and Breeanna, both lost their Queensland government jobs. Photo: Darryn Smith / Sunshine Coast Daily Darryn Smith

STEPHANIE and Mark Lavery lost their jobs with the Queensland Government and are now in danger of losing their Morayfield home.

They both worked for the Government for 13 years before being made redundant within a month of each other.

The parents of two have both found new jobs, earning about $30,000 less a year, meaning mortgage and bill pressures are building.

Stephanie said the hardest thing was the feeling they had wasted the past 13 years of their working lives.

"We're a lot of money down," she said.

"We'd worked very hard and worked our way up with the government and now we're basically starting from scratch."

The 37-year-old wanted to dispel the myth that most of the 14,000 people booted out deserved to lose their jobs since they were just "government bludgers".

"Mark and I have absolutely worked our guts out, for many many years," she said.

"We've given everything to the government and finally got to where we wanted to be."

Stephanie and Mark are now struggling to pay a mortgage they thought they could handle comfortably.

They never considered that both of them could lose their "safe" government jobs at the same time.

They insisted that although they were personally devastated, many people were in far worse positions.

"We were lucky that we can downsize but many people can't," Mark said.

"I know a bloke whose wife died two years ago and he was looking after four kids and one of them is disabled.

"He lost his job and that's the only income he had."

A senate inquiry is looking into rights at work for public sector workers like Stephanie and Mark.

And union secretary Alex Scott recently called for people to make their opinions known to the inquiry.

"Putting stories of real heartbreak, loss and ongoing pain on the federal agenda is the first step to ensuring there is federal action to bring back protection for rights at work," he said.

Queensland Senator Mark Furner isn't on the senate committee but will spend time hearing evidence and presenting it to the inquiry if time permits.

"At this point in time we need to examine what ability the Fair Work Act has to protect these workers," he said.

Member for Pumicestone Lisa France said the questions about the sackings had been answered many times before but she was sympathetic to the Laverys' plight, and to any other people who had lost their government jobs.

Topics:  senate inquiry

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