JOBS: New M'boro training hub to bring skills, employment
THE future of a game-changing initiative to help Maryborough's young people find jobs hinges on the result of next month's Federal Election.
That is according to Wide Bay MP and Liberal Nationals candidate, Llew O'Brien, who says millions could be spent on a new industry training program.
The Heritage City has been selected as one of 10 pilot sites to be included in a $58million national Industry Training Hub program.
Mr O'Brien made the announcement yesterday at DTM Timber, one of the workplaces that could benefit from the increase in skilled labour the program would bring.
"Young people in Maryborough are set to benefit from the government's plan to build better pathways between school, training and work to boost youth employment," he said.
The incumbent member said the program had been factored into the government's budget and would be rolled out across the nation next year.
But if the Coalition was voted out, there was no guarantee the hub would go ahead under a Labor government, Mr O'Brien said.
Curly Tatnell, one of the owners of DTM Timber, said it was a "brilliant" initiative that would bring skilled people into workplaces.
But Labor candidate Jason Scanes called the announcement of the training hub a "clear grab at votes," adding that not enough had been done to address youth unemployment in Wide Bay. He said Labor's proposed $1billion jobs package was a better option.
"To take on this issue means a full commitment from the government to tackle it," Mr Scanes said.
"(It means) ensuring relevant and professional training is provided to job seekers so they are equipped with the confidence and skills to enter the job market.
"Labor's $1billion investment will address the skills shortfall within the market, provide opportunity to all people to access quality education and skills training programs.
"This investment includes $200million to fix and fit-out Tafe campuses across Australia and creating an additional 150,000 apprentice incentives and funding up-front fees for 100,000 Tafe positions."
Mr Scanes said while he supported any investment aimed at addressing youth unemployment, he did not endorse "band-aid fixes".
Wide Bay Greens candidate Daniel Bryar said instead of putting $58million into "yet another program" he would encourage the government to properly fund Tafe and provide that amount in fully-funded courses.
Andrew Schebella, the candidate for the United Australia Party said giving businesses an incentive to move to regional Queensland would create more job opportunities.
Independent candidate Tim Jerome said he was all for encouraging youth employment in the Wide Bay.
But he said the announcement would have been better at the start of Mr O'Brien's term rather than a few weeks before the election.