The Turnbull Government has failed to address regional unemployment across the electorate of Leichhardt with new job figures showing local unemployment had reached six per cent and youth unemployment growing to 14.5 per cent.
Labor’s Stephen Jones and Elida Faith said the Government’s regional job cuts had contributed to growing unemployment in Cairns and undermined confidence after the LNP cut more than 800 public sector roles from across regional Australia, since 2014.
Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Stephen Jones MP, said the LNP had cut 180 full-time public sector roles from regional Queensland, alone; with more and more public sector workers in Cairns and the Far North being forced on to casual contracts.
“The Government’s regional agenda is a hollow promise so long as they continue to cut regional public sector jobs and undermine the local economy through casualisation,” Mr Jones said
“Cairns and the Far North have been sold a lemon by the LNP. They have cut investment on rail, roads and other infrastructure and taken a sledgehammer to regional jobs.”
Labor Candidate for Leichhardt, Elida Faith, said locals were concerned about growing unemployment and, in particular, youth unemployment.
“People are concerned about their ability to find good-paying, full time work in regional Queensland,” Ms Faith said
“Labor has long raised concerns with the growing number of casual Commonwealth employees and its impact on regional communities like Cairns.
“Locals want to see government support jobs and build confidence in the local economy. But confidence is undermined so long as Turnbull and the LNP cut jobs and continue to force local workers on to casual contracts.”
The LNP has also:
- Backed cuts to penalty rates;
- Cut almost $3 billion from TAFE and apprentices;
- And done nothing to address slow wage growth.
While the LNP continue to give with one hand and take with another; Labor has developed detailed plans for Regional Australia including investing in local jobs and community infrastructure, Queensland’s water security, and committed to investing $1 billion through the Northern Australia Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
If Turnbull and the LNP want to be taken seriously in North Queensland then they need to start by walking the talk and put regional jobs back into regional communities.