MPs exchange fire, outline plans to get region back to work

THEY blame each other for the region's jobs crisis but what do the major parties plan to do about it?

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is confident her recent State Budget pledge to invest $649 million into infrastructure projects that will support 1800 jobs across the Fraser Coast is a start.

In a statement the premier said her government was working on "restoring the front line services" she says were cut on Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen's watch.

 

Can the budget help Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's fortunes in regional Queensland?  Pic Mark Calleja
Can the budget help Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's fortunes in regional Queensland? Pic Mark Calleja Tara Croser

She said the government was also working with the council through the next two rounds of the Work for Queensland program where $76 million has been commitment job- generating projects in the Wide Bay-Burnett.

The government claims the program has directly helped more than 1200 people in the region to get jobs in the last 12 months.

Labor's Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders told the Chronicle he remained committed to working with local industry like Downer Rail, Maryborough Sugar Factory and Hyne Timber by ensuring rail contracts went to Maryborough and encouraging biofuel opportunities.

In response, Mr Sorensen said Labor's crisis has hit especially hard in Wide Bay, 800 young people had reportedly lost their jobs in the last 12 months.

The LNP claims youth unemployment in Hervey Bay and Maryborough is currently at 23.5 per cent, up 2.5 per cent in the last year giving our region the unenviable status of having the second-highest jobless rate in the state.

If elected, Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls says the LNP will create 20,000 jobs for young Queenslanders through a plan which will provide a $5,000 incentive to businesses to take on new apprentices.

 

POWER STRUGGLE: QLD Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls talks about farmers with high electricity costs in Bundaberg.
POWER STRUGGLE: QLD Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls talks about farmers with high electricity costs in Bundaberg. Paul Donaldson BUN100717LNP2

A $500 voucher for trade bosses to buy the tools they need to complete their apprenticeships would also be on offer.

He's also promised to reinstate the $500 million Royalties for Regions program, dumped by Labor , which he says will "build roads and other identified local infrastructure needs in Hervey Bay and Maryborough".

Mr Sorensen recently spoke in parliament about cuts to the region's road funding which took an $80 million hit this year.



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