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Hogan and Turnbull’s 3 years of neglect

17 Jun 2016

Malcolm Turnbull’s belated visit to Page, just two weeks before the Federal election, does not make up for three years of neglect, disappointment and cuts to services – Janelle Saffin, Federal Labor candidate for Page, said today.

Ms Saffin said she welcomed any announcement of funding or support for the region, especially if it would help young people to find work.

“While it’s nice to see Malcolm Turnbull here, it’s too little, too late to make up for the damage that his Government has done over the past three years.

“Youth unemployment is at 14.3 per cent in the Richmond-Tweed area.  It shouldn’t take until two weeks before an election for Mr Turnbull and Mr Hogan to do something about it.”

Ms Saffin said the Liberal-Nationals Government came to office promising to reduce the budget and stop the waste, without cutting funding for vital services.

“Instead they’ve tripled the budget deficit in just three years, and shocked the country with a $50 billion tax cut to big business and the wealthiest Australians.

“But worst of all, they slashed their commitment to the Gonski needs-based funding model for schools, and cut billions out of the long-term funding agreement for our hospitals.

“The Liberal-Nationals short-changed the people of Page with more than $11 million in cuts to financial assistance grants used by local councils to maintain roads, and cut investment in the Pacific Highway duplication by $351 million in the 2016 Budget, following on from a cut of $130 million in the 2015 Budget.”

Ms Saffin dismissed Mr Turnbull’s rhetoric about ‘jobs and growth’, saying that a genuine plan to grow the regional economy in Page needed more than simplistic slogans.

“Our region needs investment in critical infrastructure, like a world-class broadband network – not Mr Turnbull’s second-rate version on patched-up copper wire that’s billions over budget and behind schedule.

“Mr Turnbull and Mr Hogan have undermined jobs in tourism and agriculture by bungling their proposal for a backpackers tax – and then leaving industry in limbo by kicking their final decision past the election.

“And Mr Turnbull and Mr Hogan have ignored the needs of the renewable energy industry – an industry where we have a clear natural advantage - through their short-sighted focus on coal and fossil fuels.

“Today’s announcement will do nothing to stimulate new businesses, to improve local infrastructure, or to tackle structural unemployment.”

Ms Saffin said Labor previously established a local area employment coordinator in the region, and 20,000 jobs were created locally between 2008 to 2013.

“Labor will get more young people into work and keep them there by giving them real skills and real opportunities through the Working Futures program.

“Each year Labor will support 20,000 people aged between 15 and 24 through a comprehensive work and training program that sets them on the right path to ongoing quality jobs.”

As part of the program job seekers will take part in:

  • A six-week work readiness course focusing on essential employment skills as well as personal presentation, interview techniques and job hunting.
  • A six-month work placement with an employer, paid at an award-equivalent training wage.
  • A fully-funded Certificate III in a subject of their choice.

“The program will focus on young people who have been unemployed for more than a year and have no post-school qualifications,” Ms Saffin said.

“Labor wants to get more young people into work, giving them the skills they need to get a job and keep it.”

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