Shadow Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt says State Treasurer Tim Nicholls has dismissed rising unemployment in Far North Queensland as one of the “big variables” to be expected among regional economies in Queensland.

“FNQ unemployment rose from 6.5% in December 2011 to 8.4% in December 2012 which means an extra 3,800 people have joined the job queue in the region,” Mr Pitt said.

“The LNP pledged to lower our state’s jobless rate to 4% over six years which means it must create 420,000 new jobs, or about 200 jobs a day.

“But with the state’s jobless rate going up under the LNP, their target is now 230 jobs a day.

“In Far North Queensland the LNP needs to generate more than 26,000 new jobs over six years, or almost 12 a day.”

Mr Pitt says Mr Nicholls clearly has no plans to create those jobs if he dismisses unemployment rises as “variables” and it does not help that the Newman Government has not initiated a single major regional project.

“The former Labor government initiated projects such as the Cairns Base Hospital redevelopment but all the LNP has done is spend $3.5 million just to plan its new Executive Building in the Brisbane CBD for the Premier and his Ministers,” he said.

“It also makes it difficult to reach 4% unemployment when the government cuts 14,000 jobs, throwing up to 20,000 individuals and families into crisis and causing ripple effects in regional economies as those who are sacked close put their wallets and credit cards away.”