All sectors need looking after

UNEMPLOYMENT will continue to worsen on the Fraser Coast unless the council looks after the private sector as well as its own capital works.

Daniel Poacher, president of the Fraser Coast branch of the Urban Developers Institute of Australia, yesterday welcomed comments by deputy mayor Belinda McNeven acknowledging the council’s responsibility in staving off regional unemployment.

“The UDIA is encouraged by the comments of councillor McNeven acknowledging that unemployment is a serious issue on the Fraser Coast and now we’re looking forward to seeing her blueprint to address unemployment.

“The council has advised that development applications received are down by approximately 30 per cent for the same period last year and on top of this, increased infrastructure charges and the difficulties in obtaining finance have placed further strain on the viability of projects.

“We need the council to find ways provide incentive for some of these projects to kick off. This will provide benefits for a large range of businesses on the Fraser Coast and stimulate our local economy.”

Last week Ms McNeven said the council had bumped up its capital works program, and singled out the $5.5 million upgrade in Main Street.

“It’s excellent to see a local firm win the contract to keep locals employed but this is only a small contribution to the serious unemployment issue being experienced on the Fraser Coast,” Mr Poacher said.

“The development industry is the third largest employer in our region and recent figures show unemployment increased again in the last quarter.

“The link between the jobless figures and a decrease in our standard of living is clear and should be a major concern for all parts of our community.

“With high unemployment comes a broad range of effects from increases in crime to a loss of some essential service providers and businesses, so this should concern the retired population as well as families.”

“Council has a responsibility to provide good policy that allows and facilitates investment and development,” councillor Gerard O’Connell said yesterday.

“While council’s decisions alone do not control the economy it is beholden on councillors as the representatives of the community to do all we can to ensure our economy prospers and there is increased employment.

“The classic example of how we can do this is with infrastructure charges.”

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