Australian Coat of Arms

Member for Blaxland

Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment

Shadow Minister for Resources and Northern Australia 

House of Representative - Motion on Regional Queensland Jobs

Well I’ve got to hand it to the Member for Dawson. He must have a hide like a Rhinoceros to come in here and move a motion like that after the Budget that his side handed down two weeks ago.

He talks about the abandonment of workers in Central and North Queensland. Well that’s exactly what this Budget did.

Because there’s nothing in the Budget for the workers of Central and North Queensland.

It’s almost like the further you live away from the Prime Minister’s mansion on Sydney Harbour the less you got in this Budget out of this Government.

Because they got nothing out of this Budget. All they got was cuts.  

Cuts to schools. Cuts to hospitals. Cuts to universities. Cuts to TAFE.

Here’s the facts.

They are ripping $100 million out of schools from Gladstone to Cape York.

They’ve pulled $32 million out of hospitals in Central and North Queensland.

They’ve taken $38 million from Central Queensland University

And $36 million from James Cook University.

And on top of that they are taking $270 million out of TAFE in this Budget alone. In the last five years this Government has ripped $3 billion out of TAFE – and they’ve got the hide to come in here and talk about the abandonment of workers.

Who do you think trains workers? TAFE. And they are ripping $270 million out of it – they are ripping the guts out of it in this Budget.

And what do you get as a result of that? There are 9,000 fewer apprentices currently training in Central and North Queensland because of their cuts to TAFE.

On top of that there are 36,000 people in Central and North Queensland today that work earning penalty rates. People that are potentially earning less today than they were last year, because this Government wouldn’t step in to stop them getting their penalty rates cut.

They come in here and talk tough about jobs, but in reality they’re about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.

They do nothing when it comes to supporting the people they purport to represent. There is nothing for them in this Budget.

There are 40,000 people in Central and North Queensland who don’t have a job at the moment.

People who are struggling to pay the bills, struggling to pay the rent, struggling to pay their mortgage, and one mine is not going to employ all of them.

You need a lot more projects than that if we’re going to get the economic development we need, and if we’re going to get those people jobs.

Things like:

  • Widening the channel to expand the Port of Townsville,
  • Things like building the Rookwood Weir,
  • Things like extending the Port Access Road in Gladstone,
  • Things like building the flood levee in Rocky,
  • Or building the next stage of the Mackay Ring Road
  • Or extending the Bruce Highway in Cairns up to Cairns Airport,
  • Or upgrading the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road,
  • Or installing hydro power at the Burdekin,
  • Or making sure that Townsville has got the water it needs for decades to come.

But there’s none of this is in the Budget.

And here’s the biggest kick in the guts.

Three years ago – to much fanfare – they announced the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

$5 billion to invest in infrastructure in the north.

And guess what. Three years later and not one cent has been invested in an infrastructure project yet in Queensland.

Three wasted years. Three years where they could have invested in projects to create jobs in areas where unemployment’s high, and nothing’s happened.

No wonder the people of Central and North Queensland feel abandoned by this Government.

I was in Gladstone, last week.                   

I was at a coffee shop, and I asked the people in there does anybody think we should give $17 billion to the big banks.

And surprise, surprise no-one did.

But that’s what this mob over here want to do. They want to give a $17 billion handout to the big banks.

Well it’s not what we’ll do.

If we’re fortunate enough to earn the trust and support of the Australian people at the next election we will reverse the cuts they have made to schools and hospitals in Central and North Queensland.

We will remove TAFE fees for 100,000 students who want to do courses in areas where we have got skills shortages at the moment.

And we will build the infrastructure projects I that I just talked about. We’ll do all of that and more.

And we can do that because unlike the Liberal Party and the National Party we are not going to give a $17 billion tax cut to the big banks.

ENDS

MONDAY, 21 MAY 2018

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