News and op-eds

Labor Senator attacks Hinkler MP about lack of opportunities. Pollies clash on jobs

October 17, 2019

Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm criticised the federal government for not doing enough to increase jobs in Wide Bay. As his defence against the criticism, Hinkler MP Keith Pitt listed the government’s policies. Mr Chisholm said the government had no plan which was genuine, and was blaming everyone else for a jobs shortage. He noted the average waiting time of 6.5 months that it took a jobseeker to find work in Wide Bay. That was three times longer than it took to find work in Brisbane. “It’s not right that the Prime Minister is more interested in playing politics while his government, in its seventh year, blames everyone else for the jobs crisis around the country,” Mr Chisholm said. “While suffering longer wait times to find a job, people looking for work in Wide Bay shouldn’t also be forced to scrape by on $40 a day that Newstart provides, a rate the Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to raise. “Where is Scott Morrison’s and Keith Pitt’s plan to get secure, well-paid jobs into the Wide Bay?” Mr Pitt said there were several schemes and available resources aimed at targeting the economy and to improve local job opportunities. One such scheme was the $173 million Hinkler Regional Deal. This funding has not yet flowed into Bundaberg and Hervey Bay communities, with negotiations aimed at getting additional funds from the state government stalled. He also mentioned the $19 million Regional Growth Fund, which he said contributed to Bundaberg Brewed Drinks’ super-brewery, which created 350 jobs. “To help strengthen our regions the Australian Government is investing in innovative local solutions through the $18.4 million Regional Employment Trials program. “Through the program, employment facilitator Austin Ryann works directly with employers and workers to connect them with training, (and) job opportunities.”

First Published in NewsMail 17 October 2019